Parents puzzled about kids' healthy diets
Over eight out of ten parents worry about their children's diets, one in three say they are confused about what a healthy balanced diet should contain and 69% are anxious that they give in too easily to their children's demands for junk foods, says research released today.
The British Cheese Board survey of over 1,000 parents of children under the age of 16 revealed that 81% of parents feel concerned about their children's diet. It also found that a worrying number are confused about what should even be in a balanced diet, particularly younger parents with 56% of 16-24 year old parents admitting to this, compared to 17% of parents over 55 years old.
The research found that mums worry more than dads (86% vs 73%) as to whether their children have a healthy balanced diet or not. The top dietary concerns included:
- - Too many additives, with 78% of parents worrying about this sometimes, a lot, almost all the time or all the time, as they do the below:
- - Too much processed or fast food (78%)
- - Not getting their "five-a-day" of fruit and vegetables (76%)
- - Eating too much sugar (77%), fat (67%) or salt (61%)
- - Not doing enough exercise (59%)
- - Not getting enough calcium (58%)
Parental concern over diet may be related to fear of foods being disliked and rejected, lack of time and the economic climate. 72% say they worry that their children won't like the food they cook, with nearly half (47%) of parents put off from preparing recipes because the ingredients are too expensive. In addition over half of parents (59%) worry that they don't have enough time to cook for their children properly.
To give parents a helping hand and address their cooking concerns, the British Cheese Board has developed a collection of recipes featuring well-balanced meals that are a good source of protein and calcium and simple to prepare.
Ayela Spiro, Senior Nutrition Scientist at the Dairy Council said:
"The key to good nutrition is eating a healthy, well balanced diet which will give children the nutrients they need. A well balanced diet and should include: starchy foods such as rice and pasta; plenty of fruit and vegetables; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils; and milk and dairy foods like cheese. It is a concern that parents feel worried about the food their children eat. To help parents, the British Cheese Board has developed a number of easy to prepare nutritious, balanced, family recipes, which can be found on the British Cheese Board website."
Nigel White, Secretary of the British Cheese Board said:
"With busy lives and so much information available it's not surprising that parents are often confused about what constitutes a nutritious diet. Ensuring that kids' meals include a healthy mix of different food groups like fruit and vegetables, protein and dairy is a good start. When incorporating dairy into a healthy diet, cheese is a good option - not just because it is delicious, but because, like the milk it is made from, it is a natural product free from additives. It is also rich in protein and a good source of phosphorus and calcium, essential for maintaining strong teeth and healthy bones."