While most parents understand that good nutrition is important for their kids, most also find this is to be easier said than done.
In a new national poll based on responses from 1,767 parents, only a third were actually confident in their abilities to maintain a healthy diet for their children. In addition, around a quarter of parents think their child’s diet is somewhat or not healthy at all, one in five do not believe in the importance of limiting fast food and junk food, and around 16% do not think it is important to limit sugary drinks.
Healthy feeding challenges noted by parents included price, convenience, and picky eaters.
The poll’s co-director, Sarah Clark, explains,
“The tension between buying foods children like, and buying foods that are healthy, can be an ongoing struggle. Many of us know the feeling of spending time and money on a healthy meal only to have our children grimace at the sight of it and not take a single bite.”
Parents noted that while they believe a healthy diet is important for their children, they often find it overwhelming to know which foods to pick at the grocery store and get confused by labels such as ‘low-fat’, ‘organic’, ‘sugar-free’, and ‘all-natural’. Some also reported having little access to stores with healthy foods, a theme more prominent in low-income neighbourhoods.
“Most parents understand that they should provide healthy food for their children, but the reality of work schedules, children’s activities and different food preferences can make meal preparation a hectic and frustrating experience,” Clark concludes.