That children need different food than adults is a notion that prevails, especially in the USA. Yet many of these foods are highly processed, high in calories, and high in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. This is what experts complain about in a position paper on the effects of “children’s food”.
According to the US nutrition society “Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior”, there is no difference between healthy foods for adults and for children over the age of two – apart from age-appropriate adjustments in terms of consistency and portion size.
Special foods for children are often unhealthy: they contain a lot of energy, fat, salt and sugar. A diet high in these foods can have a significant negative impact on children’s preferences and tastes, experts in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior warn: It can lead to food rejection and picky eating habits, which is more common in children, worsens.
The assumption that children need different foods than adults probably arose during the alcohol ban era in the USA. At that time, the hospitality industry began to offer special children’s menus to compensate for the loss from missing alcohol sales. Since then, children’s menus and foods have become a societal norm. It persisted because highly processed foods, such as fried chicken, hot dogs, french fries, and melted cheese, tend to taste good to children and are widely available.