Lunch lies! Dinner deceits!
July 19th, 2010
12:30 AM ET
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Kids say the darndest things. As it turns out, so do parents - especially when it comes to getting their progeny to pick cauliflower over cupcakes.

The truth is, many parents tell big, fat food fibs to get their kids to eat their fruits and veggies and avoid sugary snacks. It's out of love, we know, we know. Still, we remain somewhat unconvinced that they didn't believe some of their foodie fabrications, too.

We solicited our colleagues' and friends' best food-centric tales of Pinocchio parenting, and now, we're calling them out.

(Please don't ground us.)

(Read as we bust some myths and share our favorites from the comments.)

  • If you eat the seeds of a watermelon, an entire melon will grow in your belly.


  • Eating carrots is good for your eyesight - if you eat enough of them, you’ll be able to see in the dark. [Actually, the British government was behind this one. During World War II, British Intelligence didn't want Germany to be aware of the newly developed radar technology assisting the Royal Air Force in shooting down enemy planes before they reached the English Channel. The government began planting stories in the papers, profiling an RAF pilot who credited his uncanny accuracy to his love of Vitamin A and beta carotene-containing carrots. It's great for healthy eyesight, but won't make an avid chomper into a super-seer.]


  • All the nutrients are in the bread crust. Same goes for potato peels and broccoli stems.


  • Better yet … if you eat the bread crust, you’ll get curly hair.


  • If you swallow gum, it stays in your stomach for seven years. [It's true that it's indigestible, but it passes through the body's waste system like any food would.]


  • (Insert not-so-appealing vegetable) will make hair grow on your chest. [Seriously, what's up with the hair obsession?]


  • Eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares.


  • Spinach will give you muscles like Popeye. [Spinach was originally selected as Popeye's power source because of a German study which mistakenly attributed the vegetable with ten times the iron it actually packs. When the mistake was corrected in 1937, Popeye had already been gorging on the stuff for years and it was too late to backtrack.]


  • Chocolate will give you acne. [1950s dermatology books made this claim, asserting that because chocolate is rich in fat and sebum -- the overproduction and blocking of which causes acne -- is rich in fat, consuming chocolate would cause the sebaceous glands to be affected. This link has never been proven.]
  • The ice cream man is merely the neighborhood "music man." He's not selling sweet treats, just drives around playing cheery tunes for the neighborhood to enjoy.



  • And of course ... "We're all out of cookies. Sorry."

Parents tell you a food fib growing up? Speak with a forked tongue in the comments below. We'll share the especially outlandish ones in an upcoming feature.

Meet a kid who's making some healthy decisions and taken his family's food life into his own hands and see what Tom Colicchio says about childhood hunger and obesity

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Filed under: Bite • Culture • Myths


soundoff (537 Responses)
  1. u-pvc windows melbourne

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly loved browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    November 16, 2012 at 2:30 am |
  2. Barbara

    Chocolate milk comes from brown cows ... I think Dad was responsible for that one. We thanked everyone brown cow we passed by on car trips.

    October 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  3. hther

    I told my son that brownies were "mud pies" and that chocolate chip ice cream had bugs in it.

    July 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  4. Sarah D

    Growing up (until I was about 5 or 6 and figured it out), my dad would tell my sister and me that the ice cream truck was really a truck that came by to steal kids away – he just didn't want us asking for ice cream. Probably saved him hundreds of dollars and fights, thinking back on it.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  5. Bethany

    My mother swore that drinking milk with fish, any kind, was bad, bad news. She never said exactly what would happen but the look on her face was so dire that to this day I will not partake of dairy and fish at the same time.

    July 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Gary

    I used to tell my daughter to eat her vegetables because they are the color foods. If you eat them you will see the colors better. She always ate her vegetables and believed she could see the greens, yellows, reds and oranges a little brighter. There might be a bit of truth to it. Yes, I grew up in the sixties.
    My daughter tells her son the same thing now.

    July 21, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  7. Anita

    My mom used to tell me that if I ate standing up, then all of the food would go down into my ankles....and I believed her!!!

    July 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  8. Beth

    My Dad, whose good friend and mentor as a youth–and also owned a local coca-cola bottling company– told us that anything we drank besides coke would rot our guts.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  9. Table Waiter

    I used to say that the ice cream man was the whiner truck coming to collect whiny little kids. They knew I was joking...

    July 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  10. Oh Mom!

    My mom used to tell me that if I didn't finish every last grain of rice in my bowl (we're Chinese), those grains of rice will appear as pock marks on my future husband's face.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  11. Jack

    "If you don't clean your plate, then your future wife/husband will be ugly."

    I eat every bit of food on my plate to this very day...

    July 20, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  12. Mel

    My mother used to tell us that the baby corn you'd find in Chinese restaurant fried rice was "shrunken" by a Voodoo priest in the same ceremony that he shrinks heads.

    July 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  13. lauren

    my mom has always said that pizza and ice cream are good for you- they both have protein! which is why we have ice cream for dinner at least once a week. haha

    alas, can't wait until i move out and can eat what i want. i'll lose a freshman fifteen! on the other hand, i'll have to pay for it...

    July 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  14. roxyfire

    When I wanted to try something new, my mother always told me I wouldn't like it. Now I remind her of all the things I like that she is too wimpy to try!

    July 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  15. gee

    We told our children that spinach and tomatoes were louder than carrots and peppers. We'd have crunch contests just so that they could prove we were wrong.

    July 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Beth

      This is a good one!

      July 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
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