Exposing Food Myths From Your Childhood
Even parents that serve meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans may not do well explaining how and why they eat a certain way. And even if they did, would children even listen, or better yet, retain the information? Unfortunately, an inquiring child’s exposure to food marketing, school lunch programs, and daily hours of screen time may make it impossible to get the truth about food to stick. Was your childhood full of misinformation that you’re continually fighting against to make healthier choices? To overcome the food myths you might have learned as a child, learn the truth today.
I Won't Get Full on a Salad
When you were a child, salad may have been what was served before a "real meal" at a sit-down restaurant. Some parents rarely serve any leafy greens at home and having a salad as a meal may have been an almost never experience. Salads can be one of the most satiating meals you’ll ever have. The more fiber, protein, and water a meal contains, the more satisfying it will be. That said, salad is a perfect vehicle for hunger satisfaction. The greens are full of water, protein such as beans or meat help, and additional vegetables and nuts add fiber to keep you full for much longer than meals with less bulk.
Vegetables Don't Taste Good
Just the thought of a vegetable for some kids draws protest. It’s as if they don’t know that herbs, spices, vinegars and other seasonings are what can make foods taste better. Sure, steamed carrots and peas, fresh red bell peppers, and grape tomatoes are fine to eat on their own, but pairing veggies with sweet or savory flavors can help you eat them without making a face. Low-fat cheese, fruit, or a healthy fat such as nut butter will make eating veggies more pleasurable. Adding a squirt of citrus juice, pepper, garlic and other spices will help you liven up the taste of vegetables as well. Just as a piece of chicken that hasn’t been seasoned won’t make for a pleasant meal, don’t allow yourself to settle for plain vegetables if you don’t enjoy them. Find ways to season them better without adding too many calories.
More Vitamin C is Better
You get a cold and you drink a cup of orange juice every hour to stave off the cold. Red meat is a great source of iron, so you go for a huge steak. Food marketers do well making health claims for specific vitamins and minerals, but the truth is your body can’t process too much of anything at once. Just think of what happens when you take high-volume supplements. You go to the bathroom a few hours later and there goes your water-soluble vitamins. Eat a variety of natural foods to meet nutritional needs, rather than eating large amounts of processed foods that have been fortified. While many fortified foods such as bread, pasta, and milk are good to have in your diet, it’s not advisable to eat large amounts of one food to meet a daily requirement. If you eat the amount of fruit, vegetables, proteins and grains you should, you’re on the right track.
All Cake is Good Cake
The sound of an ice cream truck or a family birthday party is welcomed by adults and children alike, but not every treat is tasty. Don’t settle for just anything that is sugary or chocolaty because you’ll waste calories and will still be unsatisfied. If you’re served sweets at a party, don’t eat them mindlessly. Try a small bite first, if it isn’t tasty, sit it down and use those calories on something that is closer to what you’ll like. Try not to eat something sweet just because. In the end, you’ll still crave a treat and may overdo it when you do.
If you weren’t told how to eat healthy in your childhood, raise your hand. Even if you were, can you honestly say you were listening and retained the information? Teaching an old dog new tricks is hard, but it can be done. With so much information about nutrition, continue to educate yourself about how and what to do when making food choices. Post nutritional guidelines on your refrigerator, read up on how to make better food choices, and don’t let your past hurt your future.
What food lies have you overcome?
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