One reason that we do not cover child nutrition a great deal is because evidence-based research and decent clinical studies involving children are rare. There are the obvious practical complexities (‘You can’t see your mummy until you’ve eaten it all!’) and stringent ethical standards apply (ditto). Only makers of highly processed food can afford it. Deftly avoiding the irony and not getting into how it’s a pity advertising doesn’t face the same interrogation … It is a great shame that child nutrition is not better served, because children are routinely fed the worst food available!
What today’s elderly relatives and family doctors do not understand is that the chemical constituents of modern sweets are nothing like the ingredients of the toffies and coconut slices of their childhood. Stand between pure glucose fructose sugar and your infant and you are clearly sandal-knitting killjoy. Even parents with relatively healthy low-carb diets will unthinkingly offer their children processed yogurts, cereals, fruit juices, and worse.
Nowhere is this clearly demonstrated than at a children’s birthday party. Interestingly the children know it’s not good. At pick-up time there will still be plates of teeth-wrecking liver bombs and nuggets left to congeal next to mangled crisps. These processed toxic nightmares are more resistible to children than the advertisers would have you believe. Having arrived at the party and eaten more sugar than usual, the children’s taste buds adapt. This means the corn syrup in the processed food is no longer able to mask the awful taste of fake-cream icing syrup cake, steam-moulded cup-cakes, frankfurters, etc.
So, what can someone from a diabetic, low carb, paleo, or ketone diet background provide? This may sound extreme but the essential ingredient is fun: provide cocktail sticks and finger food – play pin the cherry tomato and they’ll eat the lot. It’s probably cheaper too. Get creative and turn ordinary food into something fun and exciting! Ideas for healthier options include:
- Sliced raw carrot, red pepper, and cucumber
- Baby tomatoes
- Fruit salad
- Humus and cheese dips
- Slices of quality ham, grilled chicken, salmon, and cheese
- Drinks: an iced punch with mint, lemon juice, fresh berries and sliced oranges
I promise they will eat it all as well as a few sweets and some cake – it is a party after all!
You have given every child a gift by deconstructing the myth that sugar is good and fun and special.