They’ve Got it All Wrong When it Comes to Proper Nutrition for Children

They seriously have got it all wrong in the mainstream system when it comes to proper nutrition for children.

Like, I knew that the food system is messed up and they promote feeding children low-fat dairy products and such but I never really saw first hand what type of foods are actually being served or being encouraged to serve in day cares.

It doesn’t take much to shock me when hearing or reading things about conventional dietary wisdom but the other day, I was shocked.

I was offered a job where I substitute a friend’s daycare program when she goes on a vacation. In order to be able to care of the children in her home daycare, I have to take online courses and become certified. As I was looking through the classes that I needed to take, I decided to go with the hardest and longest course first, which ironically was the “Health, Safety and Nutrition Course.”

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself. “This should be interesting.”

Let me tell you, it is certainly most interesting and I am actually really thankful I have the opportunity to see first hand what is being encouraged for our children to eat.

One word to describe my feelings about it? Horrified.

I started the module in the course with the goal being,

You will identify the need and understand guidelines related to proper nutrition for all children.

I took a deep breath, and began.

The first thing they began preaching about was the MyPlate Food Groups. Basically MyPlate is like a revised food pyramid. They had it all wrong with the food pyramid and now they have it really wrong with the MyPlate. Below is the examples of what they believe should be in each food group.

What do you see wrong with this?

First off, I’m kind of anal when it comes to spelling errors and I really don’t like that they misspelled desserts. Like, how can I take you seriously when not only do you encourage the wrong foods for growing children but you can’t even spell on a course that I am supposed to get certified off of.

But never mind that. Let’s get back to the food…

I’ll label all the foods that I think are wrong with this. Do you agree with me?:

  • breakfast cereals (completely devoid of any nutrients and highly processed)
  • crackers (also devoid of nutrients and probably has tons of preservatives, additives, GMOs.. you know, the whole riga-ma-role)
  • tomato juice (what kid wants to drink tomato juice????)
  • fruit juice that qualifies as a fruit (which most likely is loaded with additional sugars and pasteurized so basically there are no benefits from drinking it)
  • milk based deserts (I never knew there was such thing as a milk based desert? But desserts? I know of those. I don’t know if I would encourage desserts as part of a main food group for children, especially the kind that is most likely full of GMOs and other completely unnecessary ingredients).
  • processed soy products (can anyone say GMO????)

Unfortunately, what I see really wrong, is there is no mention of fats in the diet. Our brains are made up of over 60% saturated fat. Can you imagine what would happen if we starved our growing children’s brains of the most critical nutrient they need??

I found this quote from Live Simply’s article, Is Your Child’s Brain Starving?:

Recently it has been discovered that the Omega-3 fats are necessary for the complete development of the human brain during pregnancy and the first two years of life. The Omega-3 fat and its derivative, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is so essential to a child’s development that if a mother and infant are deficient in it, the child’s nervous system and immune system may never fully develop, and it can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning, and immune system disorders. (source)

As you can see, fat is crucial. Good fat is what I credit for Andrew’s amazing memory and speaking skills. If you take one thing away from this article is make sure you don’t. skimp. on. the. fat. period.

The second part of the module was learning to prepare and meal plan for children

Oi vay.

Here is what a sample menu meal plan looked like:


Did you almost keel over with shock too!?

Most of these foods are highly processed, full of GMOs, preservatives, additives and fake fats. Children need quality ingredients that are nutrient-dense. Nutrient-dense basically means the foods contain high amounts of natural nutrients– no synthetic or fortified vitamins and minerals. And since when was corn a vegetable (it’s a grain, folks)??

Children need wholesome, full fat ingredients to nourish their growing brains and these foods actually taste good so children are most apt to eat them. After looking at the sample meal plan I realized it’s no wonder kids are so dang picky! The actual “food” has no taste and the snacks they are given are full of fake sugars, fats and alter their tastes buds.

Fortunately it is really easy to substitute this meal plan  with real food ingredients.You can use the substitutions in the graphic below to help guide you in your day-to-day with your children if they are not in school or if you can have some sort of influence on how the meal plans are created.

Check out this graphic to see how you can switch over the highly processed junk foods to foods that actually contain the vital nutrients for children to thrive.

Please keep in  mind, as always, foods that are of quality like organic and pasture-raised are the best options. I understand not everyone can afford these options.

This is why I think the most important thing to remember when looking at these meal plans and assessing how you can change them is substituting them with REAL food ingredients that are in their most natural, whole form. 

Below I’ve included my favorite resources to help you when it comes to proper nutrition that your children will thrive on. From recipes and articles, to ebooks to hard copy books, I am sure you will find something that you will benefit from.


Resources for Feeding Children Nutrient-Dense, Wholesome Foods

Blog Articles:




Hard Copy Books:

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Aside from being a wannabe backyard homesteader who wrangles chickens and free-range kids, Loriel is the owner/creator of the professional natural lifestyle blog Naturally Loriel, owner of the organic spice blend business Naturally Free, and freelance professional food photographer.

'They’ve Got it All Wrong When it Comes to Proper Nutrition for Children' has 10 comments

  1. January 29, 2014 @ 1:15 pm Kim Fries

    I LOVE this!!

    I recently prepared a homeschool mini-unit on nutrition for my 11 year old. He has Asperger and we have noticed what a significant impact diet and nutrition have on his health and behavior, even more so than our neuro-typical son. We wanted to encourage him to take more responsibility for his diet and become aware of WHY we guide him to certain food choices.

    I also went to the my plate website. I expected to find info on processed foods, sugars and such that I did not agree with, but I did not expect to be horrified by the content. Needless to say I did not use any of it. We used materials from other web sites, library books and a nutritionist.

    I just wanted to share that you re not alone in your view.


    • January 30, 2014 @ 6:39 am Loriel @ Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

      Thank you for sharing! You’re just like me… I *knew* what was out there but to actually see it first hand, horrified me.

      It truly is amazing what a clean diet can do to our overall well-being. Is he excited about learning about better food choices? Best of luck to you and your family!


  2. January 30, 2014 @ 8:35 am Ginger

    I’m really surprised at this. My daughter is at an in-home daycare (at the providers house with relatively few children compared to a center) and she is absolutely not allowed to serve soda as part of her meal plan if she wants state funding. The biggest problem I have with her food is that there’s too much grain, but compared to this example I guess she’s not doing all that bad! I don’t let my daughter eat breakfast there because I think the grainy, over-processed breakfasts are by far the worst meal she serves so we eat at home before I drop her off. Her lunch though is always one protein, two veggies or a fruit and a veggie, one whole grain, and milk to drink (I send our ‘better’ milk in). Under two years the kids get full fat milk and over two get reduced fat, though obviously we won’t be making that switch. When my daughter first started solids a lot of the parents were sending in their own food so the provider asked us all to a meeting to talk about what she could make that we would all be happy with. I knew she’d never do a truly traditional diet, but at least we got her to switch to mostly organics! I figure at least the occasional unhealthy cracker isn’t doused in pesticides and full of GMOs this way. So I guess it’s very provider dependent, though we still have lots of room for improvement.


  3. January 30, 2014 @ 10:22 am Kristin

    This is absolutely amazing. It’s sad to watch a generation that’s growing up on anything but food. And we wonder why we have all sorts of behavior issues and constantly sick children. As a former teacher, I was amazed at what qualified for a “healthy” lunch. Thank you, Loriel, for taking the time to do the research and write this post. It’s eye-opening and something I believe all parents should be aware of.


  4. January 30, 2014 @ 10:27 am linda spiker

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. It’s so important! I wish I could go back in time and re-do a lot that I did as a parent regarding the food choices I made. So glad my now grown children know better for my grand children!


  5. January 30, 2014 @ 11:52 am Anni

    Yeah, the kids’ and school nutrition part of my Dietetics bachelors degree was probably one of the most painful parts. Because there were some things I seriously disagreed with… like anything that’s GMO, first off, and also the refined carbs and sugars (because they HAVE to have a certain number of carbs, so refined carbs and sugars were used to make up the difference).


  6. February 4, 2014 @ 2:16 pm Christine @ Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

    Ugh. This is why I *always* pack my kids’ lunches! My kids are older… but their school lunches are not better.
    And I really love the milk based desert… I’m not sure what that is, but I do not want to go there! I expect it would be stinky! 😉
    ~ Christine


  7. April 24, 2014 @ 3:34 pm Rebekah

    As a pregnant woman I was in shock when I realized that EVERYTHING that I read that’s a guide for pregnancy nutrition states low-fat low-fat low-fat…

    how is drinking low fat or skim milk going to benefit my baby in any way?
    or low fat cheese, i mean what is that really

    full fat + organic + real foods grown in the ground = health


    • April 24, 2014 @ 3:42 pm Loriel @ Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

      I know, it’s quite crazy. I wish there was a way we could get ALL the information on nutrition beforehand and then make a choice based on what we believe is right.


  8. August 4, 2014 @ 8:36 am Google

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