As a parent, there is so much pressure from society about what we should and shouldn’t do for our children. From what time they should be going to bed, to whether too much screen time is detrimental for their development – these are common questions we ask ourselves each day… but the one that’s getting to me at the moment is what other people are telling me I should be feeding my kids.
Many of us worry about whether we’re making the right healthy choices for our family, and this may stem from the fact that over 25 percent of the Australian population is classified as obese. This gets many of us thinking that if you don’t feed your children the right food when they’re young, are you responsible for their poor health and weight gain later on in life?
New research from Capilano Honey’s Family Nutrition Report showed that confusing dietary information is to blame for a rise in nutritional anxiety among Aussie parents, with more than one in 10 admitting they are baffled by conflicting recommendations around what they should and shouldn’t be feeding their kids.
It probably doesn’t help that we see a great deal in the media about ‘super mums’ making their handmade granola and fresh-from-scratch yoghurt… but the reality is, most of us just don’t have the time! My husband and I are both full-time workers so that’s not necessarily an option for us.
The research, led by Capilano, also found that more than half of parents (52%) often find themselves contending with a fusspot.
Kate: The pressure on parents to be 'everything' is enormous.
I can relate, as I’ve been blessed with two very beautiful, VERY fussy girls. Each morning Chloe (5) and Mia (3) wake up at around 6:00am dying from starvation so it’s a race against time to get their breakfasts organised. Greek yoghurt (believe it or not, we go through 5L a week) and a sliced banana with either Cheerios, Weetbix or porridge is a typical morning dish in our household. One can’t stand the look or taste of porridge and can’t even sit at the same table if it is dished up! While I’m not sure if Mia even likes Greek yoghurt, because her older sister doesn’t mind it, she happily eats it.
Do you think this breakfast choice sounds unhealthy? You would be surprised by how many other parents think it is, especially when they hear the word Cheerios. Being a dietitian, I know how important it is for kids to have a hearty breakfast and in my opinion, Cheerios certainly isn’t the worst choice… it’s a whole grain cereal containing soluble fibre, low in saturated fat, cholesterol free and fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium and vitamin B meeting over 25% of the daily requirements – but that doesn’t stop the rhetorically horrified comments: ‘Do you at least buy the NO added sugar variety?’ or ‘Isn’t that like feeding your kids Fruit Loops?’
No. It’s nothing like giving your child a bowl of sugar, it only contains around one teaspoon per serve and they don’t add sugar to it either! Truth is, they would eat the NO added sugar variety but my eldest loves the original and my youngest prefers the honey flavoured – honestly, it really comes down to whichever option they have available at the supermarket. I’m not alone in swallowing the judgement from other mums and dads – Capilano’s research also found that almost one in five parents have been made to feel guilty about the food they give their child.