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As parents, meeting your child’s nutritional needs is one of your biggest concerns. An improper diet might cause sluggishness, lack of concentration and contribute to rising levels of obesity in children. That’s why it is important to understand what nutrients our little ones consume and how it affects them.

Here are a few common misconceptions about children’s nutrition that are easily busted.

Myth: What’s healthy for grown-ups is also healthy for kids – low fat, low carbs.

Fact: Kids need a lot of fats for growth and it plays an important role in their development. Complex carbohydrates such as green vegetables and whole grain foods leave a child feeling satisfied longer and less likely to load up on unhealthy snacks.

Myth: Kids should eat three square meals a day.

Fact: Remember your child’s tummy is only about the size of their fist and is not designed to handle three big meals. Instead, alternate small meals with healthy snacks like carrot sticks or cheese slices throughout the day.

Myth: Feeding them a few bites of healthy foods is enough.

Fact: Studies show that how much a child enjoys food affects how well the nutrients will be absorbed in their body. Instead of force feeding, make healthy food presentable and appealing to your kids – a smiley face made of vegetables goes a long way in encouraging them to eat it themselves.

Myth: Children can eat more fruits to compensate for lack of vegetables in their diet.

Fact: Fruits are sweet and kids easily gobble them up but it is lacking in phytochemicals contained in vegetables. Your child’s diet should include a variety of foods from all five food groups – dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains and protein (lentils, soya, eggs, meat).

Myth: Sugar makes kids hyperactive.

Fact: Contrary to popular thinking, it is often the environment your child is in that defines how lively they are. Simple sugars may not lead to hyperactivity but are digested quickly causing an immediate blood sugar drop which could make your child irritable and distracted.

Balance is the key. A balanced diet, enough sleep and regular exercise in the form of daily outdoor play time ensure your little ones are active and full of energy.

Happy feeding!