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Health & Parenting

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Parents' Food Fears Make for Unhealthy Family Diets


Lifshitz offers another example of fear-driven food choices. "People are afraid of red meat, they are afraid to feed their children steak," he says. But Lifshitz says "a 3 oz serving of flank steak contains all the protein, iron, and zinc that a 10-year-old child needs for a day."

In contrast, he says that using pasta to supply the same protein would require "three servings of pasta and for zinc, you would need seven servings. You know what that adds up to? Obesity."

Lifshitz suggests that Americans look to other countries for useful advice about healthy diets. "In Japan, they recommend eating 30 different food sources a day. Thirty! It sounds like a lot but those of you who like sushi know that if you go to a sushi bar you get all these different foods, but small servings," he says.

Ayood tells parents to use moderation and variety. "For example, try foods of different colors." He also advises getting "children involved in food preparation. Have them cut up the green beans. Who cares if the cuts are uneven?" That involvement, he says, will pay off, as children become more interested in variety.

Finally, Lifshitz advises, "there are no junk foods, just junk diets. If a child eats a piece of chocolate, the child shouldn't feel guilty." He says the problem comes when a diet is either dominated by a single food or arbitrarily eliminates certain foods. "Remember, variety and enjoyment."

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