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To eat well, "we must find some common sense," says Dr. Jean-Michel Lecerf, director of the nutrition and physical activity of the Pasteur Institute of Lille. Asked by Europe 1, he recalls that it is the parents who must say what is good, not the children. And give some tips for adopting a healthy diet by coming back on some foods often blamed ...
Do children eat too much meat?
For Jean-Michel Lecerf, meat is not a bad food. "It's a question of quantity, and in children the iron requirements are very high and it is difficult to reach the recommended intakes when a child does not eat meat at all." However, a vegetarian diet is not dangerous, even if there is a risk of iron deficiency. On the other hand, the director of the nutrition department of the Pasteur Institute of Lille warns against veganism, that is to say the suppression of all products of animal origin, which, according to him, "is not not recommended in children or in other populations because of the very high risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies.It is dangerous because after a few years, you start to have neurological, neuropsychiatric, and hematological disorders. "
After 3 years, do we still need milk?
We know that before the age of 3, it is better for children to drink milk. But after ? "Milk is an exceptional food, depriving a child of milk, I think it's really a nutritional mistake," says Jean-Michel Lecerf. "As you grow up, it's very important to drink it because it's when young girls in particular make up their bone mass."
Do children eat too much sugar?
Sugar, food often pointed at the finger, "is not a drug", considers Jean-Michel Lecerf. "It can be part of a normal diet, but its excess is undesirable.We must especially be very vigilant about sugary drinks that are a big problem.Many children take the habit of drinking these drinks between meals and it's really not a good thing. " As for sweets, even fight, one from time to time does not kill. "If you totally ban the sweets, the children will look elsewhere," says the doctor, while acknowledging that "they are not part of the top of the balanced diet, far from it". And to choose the snacks of children, it is better to choose "biscuits where the list of ingredients is not too long, where there are cereals, fibers ..."
Five fruits and vegetables a day?
In France, the National Health Nutrition Program (PNNS) recommends eating five fruits and vegetables a day. But it is not always easy to impose on his children, especially after his first 18 months, because the child will begin to build his own food identity and reject many foods. So, how? "It's really important for adults because studies have shown that it's a lot of diseases, and kids do not go to war, you have to encourage the consumption of vegetables, but it's normal for kids to Do not be particularly attracted to vegetables, you have to gradually teach them to taste foods, "explains the director of the nutrition and physical activity department at the Institut Pasteur in Lille. For this, one thing is essential to him: cooking with his children, which will enable them to "improve their knowledge and love of food".
In any case, says Jean-Michel Lecerf, "you should never ask a child what he wants to eat! Otherwise, we enter what is called 'the child king'. decide. "