It’s not easy being a parent, and mealtime is no exception. Especially if you have picky eaters on your hands!

To get healthy food into young, growing bodies, parents sometimes get a bit, shall we say, ‘creative’. Sometimes that means stretching the truth just a tad. Not surprisingly, a lot of these food fibs are passed on from generation to generation.

For example, somewhere along the way, vegetables started coming with superpowers. We all know that veggies are good for you, but as we got older we came to realize that reports of vegetables instilling superpower are wildly exaggerated. Sadly, eating spinach won’t directly translate into Popeye-like biceps, and carrots won’t make you see in the dark.

In preparation for Love Food Fest (our gourmet fundraiser with a nostalgic twist) we asked: what food lies did your parents tell you?

Here are some of the most commonly repeated food fibs:

  • It’s chicken.” Did you hear this as a child? Strange animal parts were re-branded as a familiar meat in order to get you to eat them. One person told us her grandmother tried to convince her that beef gizzards were chicken. Another said her mom convinced her beef tongue was just “soft beef”. This trick may have gotten us to eat our meat but deep down, we kinda knew something was up.


  • “It’ll put hair on your chest.” Sorry boys, no food has the power to overcome your genetics, let alone skip over your pre-pubescent years straight into adolescence.


  • Drink your milk to grow tall.” Ditto.


  • The crusts of bread contain all the nutrients.” Apparently this one is plausible enough that several of us even believed it well into adulthood. Nope. Another fib. But it did save your mom the extra hassle of cutting the crusts off your sammie.


  • Sugar will make you hyperactive.” Your parents may have actually believed this, as it wasn’t proven incorrect until the ‘90s (and some parents still repeat it). But this warning probably didn’t stop you, anyway; you were a kid – if candy came with an extra energy boost, so what?


  • There are children starving in China.” Depending on when and where you were born, you may have heard a variation of this cliché. It wasn’t about the food itself, but an attempt to get us to clean our plates. While it may not have been effective (or geographically accurate) this line did have an important message that rings true today: not all children have food to eat.


Here’s the reality check: Severe malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million child deaths each year. Food appreciation and responsible eating habits (like avoiding food waste) are good practices, but if we want to help more children get proper nourishment we have to take action beyond our own dinner table.

The good news is, today we have the ability to stop hunger. If you’re an adult, things have changed since you were a kid. In the past twenty five years, we have uncovered revolutionary tools, preventative methods, and affordable treatment options. We have the solutions to stop hunger in its tracks.

If you want to help prevent and treat malnutrition and save lives in places like South Sudan, Central African Republic, Syria, and Sierra Leone here are two things you can do right now:

  • Share this post with your friends, so they can learn about ACF Canada and help us do more, together, to save more children from severe malnutrition.

Readers, thank you for your ongoing support! We can’t wait to see you at Love Food Fest!