Being a parent of a school-age child is notoriously difficult. Not only do you have to get your bed-loving kid up for school each day, you also have to ensure they have a balanced lunch.
One dietician has revealed that even she isn’t immune to critical comments from other parents.
Australian Kate Save told the Daily Mail that she has been made to feel guilty about the food she gives her two children for lunch.
Both her three-year-old and five-year-old daughter are fussy eaters with Kate’s eldest hating many sandwich fillings including jam and Australian favourite, Vegemite. Instead, the dietician is forced to give plain butter or mayonnaise.
“Once people know you’re a dietician, [they] ask: ‘what does your kid have for lunch?’ I tell them I give them what they’ll eat,” she said. “To them, it might have looked as if I wasn’t making an effort as a parent.”
As well as a sandwich, Kate often gives an apple or strawberries as well as a tub of Greek yoghurt. For days when her children might be extra hungry, she adds a small bowl of baked beans.
“That’s when the questions about how high [baked beans] are in sugar start,” she stated. “‘I tell people they’re a legume, and super high in fibre and super high in vitamins.”
Kate adds that she’d rather her children were eating vegetables with a little sugar content than none at all.
The dietician also receives criticism for giving her two youngsters cereal for lunch on occasion: “One of my daughters likes Cheerios which she has with Greek yoghurt. Parents have said: ‘are Cheerios ok? I thought they were full of sugar.'”
“They’re a breakfast cereal and they have a little bit of added sugar – a maximum of one teaspoon of sugar per serve which is less than what you’d normally add to cereal,” Kate responds.
“I find that with kids, it’s a way to get extra vitamins in plus dietary fibre, plus when it’s served with Greek yoghurt they are getting calcium and protein and overall it’s actually a low GI meal.”
Admitting that she still “gets judged by parents,” Kate is trying to show what a healthy diet really looks like. She believes that parents in particular are suffering from ‘nutritional anxiety’ due to the overload of dietary information they receive on a daily basis.
“People are always asking me what they should be eating and they honestly seem confused,” she said. “The truthful answer is that everybody knows what good food looks like. It’s only once you start worrying about the labels on processed food that you’re probably choosing the wrong foods.”
She has a few tips for parents of fussy eaters, saying “you just need to make sure they’re getting something because their energy becomes the most important thing. At the end of the day, it’s not about individual meals or individual foods but it’s about balance.
“Every meal doesn’t need to look perfect.”
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