Top 10 Pediatric Nutrition Pet Peeves
Updated: Jan 21
Nutrition is one of my favorite topics. Due to my history of type 1 diabetes, I have always had to scrutinize nutrition labels and perform math equations at every single meal. I sometimes feel like I have superpowers and I can (accurately) guess how many calories, fat, and carbohydrates a dish has in it just by looking at it. This talent has allowed me to teach my patients the basics of proper nutrition. Although I could go on for days and days talking about food, this post will emphasize my top 10 nutrition pet peeves:
Just No. Juice can never, and will never replace fresh, whole fruit. Even the juices that claim they are “100% natural fruit juice” USUALLY are not. If your child is craving a delicious fruity drink, try popping some fresh or frozen fruit into a blender with Greek yogurt.
Another great tip—juice is inevitable at children’s birthday parties. My sister allows my sweet nephew Cody to have “party juice” at birthday bashes. She allows 1 per party. Better than calling it crunk juice, right!?
This fad of bagged mush is no replacement for meals and snacks for your kiddos. I know, I know, they’re convenient. However, the entire meal process is a learning experience for a child. Sitting at a table eating a meal or snack is the appropriate place for a child to nosh. They learn so many skills from how to use utensils, proper table manners, and are able to feel satiated when eating at a table. If you offer food pouches to your child, I would advise offering no more than ONE per day and ensure they are 100% fruit and veggie blends, without added sugar.
The junk food of 2019. No, but seriously… Many cereals are marketed as “healthy” when they are in fact full of sugar- more sugar than you are supposed to eat in an entire day!
I have had many families ask me if their son or daughter can do the “x” diet. My answer is always no. I constantly tell my patients, “everything in moderation." I want my patients to live a healthy lifestyle and fad diets just don’t stick.
5-Telling a child if they continue to eat “X” they’ll get FAT
This one really gets under my skin. I cringe whenever I hear a parent make a comment regarding their son or daughter’s weight, or stating that eating that candy bar will make them the “F” word. One candy bar will not make anyone the “F” word. We need to be supportive of our loved ones. We need to take the “F” word out of our vocabularies.
6-TV at meal /snack time
It is so important from a very young age to have children sit at the table to eat their food, not in front of the television. When we eat in front of the TV, and we are ALL guilty of this, your brain is so preoccupied with what is on the tube, that you naturally consume more than necessary.
7-Offering a smorgasbord of food for those picky eaters
Mom. Dad. Good news. Little Johnny does not need 15 options for dinner, even though he is SUPER picky. I typically recommend offering TWO things that little Johnny can choose from. Don’t worry, he won’t starve, he will eventually eat. Being a part of the decision process is always half the battle and we can trick them into thinking they won.
8-Deprivation- Eat the cupcake!
We all need a cupcake once in a while. Eat the cupcake!
9-Not leading by example
It is essential to make healthy choices as a family. It would be very difficult to tell your 5th grader that he or she cannot have soda because the NP advised against it, but mom or dad continues to buy it and drink it throughout the day. It is important to lead by example and be supportive when making simple, healthy changes.
10-Not getting kids involved
Kids can start helping around the kitchen at a very young age. A toddler can help grab veggies out of the fridge, or assist in washing and drying the fruit. As they get older, they can help set the table, cut up fruits/veggies (with supervision), and even meal plan!
I hope this list was informative! I could go on and on and on, but I’ll save that for another post!
Until next time,