Over the last month, Capilano Honey has been researching the impact of nutritional anxiety among Aussie parents. Stats revealed confusion from an overload of dietary information to blame for the rise, with more than one in 10 (12%) admitting they are baffled by conflicting recommendations around what they should and shouldn’t be feeding their kids.
Findings from Capilano Honey’s Family Nutrition Report showed more than a third (34%) of parents resorted to following their ‘gut instinct’ when it comes to what is and isn’t healthy, as the volume of information directed at them is overwhelming.
The report also revealed that busy lifestyles were also a key contributor to mealtime stress, with one in five (20%) saying they would like to feed their family healthier meals but lack of time prevents them from doing so.
The report also indicated that ‘lunchbox shamers’ made preparing packed lunches a minefield for parents. Almost one in five (18%) respondents indicated that a teacher or fellow parent had made them feel guilty about the food they had packed for their child. Last night’s dinner (40%) and opting for an easy on-the-go snack or meal (56%) were the top contenders for overzealous food policing amongst parents.
Compounding this nutritional nightmare is the ‘fussy eater’ with more than half (52%) of parents contending with a fusspot and almost all (95%) admitting to giving their kids food that is not nutritionally ideal just so they will eat.
Moreover, many parents simply do not know what the daily recommended amounts of the key food groups for kids are. Almost two-thirds of survey participants did not know how many serves of vegetables a 4-8 year old should be eating, and three-quarters (75%) were stumped for ages 9-11.
In the national survey of over 1,000 Australian parents, more than one in five (20%) incorrectly identified fruit as low or no sugar options and more than a quarter (27%) thought ‘low fat’ foods have low or no sugar and believed they were making a healthier choice.
Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Capilano Honey spokesperson, Kate Save, said that food-related stress and lunch box shaming were partly to blame for nutritional anxiety, with parents increasingly overwhelmed by conflicting information on what they should be feeding their kids.
“I am often approached by parents who are confused by conflicting information and are asking for clarity around what is and isn’t healthy.
“Sadly, many parents are shocked to learn that foods they perceive to be healthier options, such as the ‘low-fat’ version of yogurt or milk and pre-packaged meals, are actually not considered healthy nor nutritious,” added Save.
The survey also explored how the family meal responsibilities are split at home, and revealed that stereotypical gender roles are shifting with more than three-quarters of dads (78%) responsible for family meals.
“The Capilano Honey Family Nutrition Report was undertaken to provide a current look into the food behaviours and attitudes across Australian families, and to listen to parent’s concerns when it comes to their children’s diet and nutrition,” says Capilano Honey’s Managing Director and PhD graduate, Dr Ben McKee.