Health / 03.09.2015

5 mistakes every parent makes with kids nutrition

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Our expert calls out the dangers of the 'treat cupboard' and more

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From unlimited oranges when they’re a bit snotty to keeping sugary snacks in a ‘treat cupboard’ – many of our oft-followed foodie rules for little ones are actually doing them more harm than good. That’s according to NHS dietician Sam Perkins.

Fix her five and send your small people back to school in the healthiest place possible this September. Who knows, you might even make it to Christmas without a sniffle!

1. Upping the vitamin C

‘I see many parents who give these if there are colds going round at school – but not only can high doses cause upset tummies, giving a lot of vitamin C for a long period then stopping can trigger a condition called Rebound Scurvy which actually triggers a drop in immunity. If you’re supplementing with vitamin C, keep doses moderate – something like a Haliborange is just enough.’

2. Filling little ones up on fibre

‘Fibre can fill them up too much which actually makes it hard for them to eat all the foods they need for energy. Kids need a good variety of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains but in small portions.’

3. Saying ‘no’ to sugar

‘It’s better to try and educate children as to why some foods are better than others than ban sweets and sugars outright – this just increases the likelihood that when they do make their own food choices, they’ll reach for the things they aren’t normally allowed.’

4. Calling sweets ‘treats’

‘This encourages the idea that they are nicer than other foods – and more desirable than healthy options.’

5. Not being mindful of the Southampton Six

‘These are the colourings shown to have effects on attention and behaviour, and are known as the Southampton Six after the UK university that discovered them. They particularly affect younger children.’

‘They are sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129). Foods containing these are clearly marked as potentially disruptive to behaviour and should be avoided.’

Want to share your kids nutrition tips? Tweet us @healthymagdaily using #FreshStartSeptember

5 mistakes every parent makes with kids nutrition
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5 mistakes every parent makes with kids nutrition
Many of our trusted kids nutrition rules are actually doing them more harm than good, according to NHS dietician, Sam Perkins. Get your facts straight here
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