5 food myths to bust with your teenager

As your child gets older preconceptions about food can get in the way of a happy, healthy diet.

Eating habits for a teenager are part of her chance to establish her own life choices. Take your child seriously, but beware that newly adopted notions she might have about food might not always be the healthiest choices.

MYTH 1: water retention is caused by drinking too many fluids. 

This idea can be especially popular with girls and women who feel self-conscious about bloating. The body is very efficient at getting rid of water it doesn’t need. The body is more likely to retain water if it feels it’s not getting enough liquid.

MYTH 2: going vegetarian is automatically a healthy choice.
A vegetarian diet can lead to higher saturated fat intake where meat and fish are replaced with only cheese and might not provide adequate iron and vitamin B12. However, the increase in fibre fruit, veg and wholegrains can clearly be healthier choices, so make sure your child tops up any lacking nutrients with other foods or supplements.

MYTH 3: you can drink as many diet beverages as you like.
Generally, they are calorie free, but they are still acidic and that acid can attack tooth enamel. Frequent sipping through the day is the worst habit for your teeth. Best to drink them only during meals and through a straw.

Savvy tip
Skipping lunch or an evening meal doesn’t create a healthy balanced diet and could lead to bigger binges in short bursts. Smaller meals, always including breakfast, will offer a more positive route to a healthy body weight.

Pass it on – dairy products aren’t all bad!
• Dairy products contain valuable sources of calcium, vitamins and protein.
• Even full fat milk only contains 3-4% fat and semi-skimmed just 1.5-2%.
• Yoghurts with no added sugar, a glass of skimmed rather than full fat milk, and opting for crème fraiche instead of double cream with desserts can all help if your are worried about dairy fats.