I was reading this article (here: http://tinyurl.com/24rj2m), about the Institue of Medicine's recommendation that junk food be banned from public schools, and replaced with more healthy snacks. They're doing a whole two part series tonight on the CBS evening news about health food and stuff as a part of this - and I'm wondering, is this really the best way to get kids started on apath of losing weight? My problems as a kid weren't because I ate bad food at school (though granted we didnt really have like vending machines or something like that), it was the junk I ate at home...I feel like we should be maybe doing more to encourage people to buy more healthy food all around?
eating is a habit for many people, triggered by various things, and availability is one.
When my boys graduated from high school, both since 2001, I was shocked and saddened by the number of young adults lumbering across the stage to get their diplomas. These kids weighed well over 200 pounds, and there were lots of them. Currently, 42% of kids are overweight or obese. PE is no longer required and there is no lunch recess where the kids can go outside and toss a ball or have a race. They sit and sit and sit.
Did you see the TV shows on the bed-ridden morbidly obese? Those numbers have doubled since 1989, making up 5% of our population. One admitted to eating 46,000 calories per day, via chocolate and greasy foods.
As a parent, I bristle at being blamed for every negative aspect of my childrens' behavior. That being said, I believe that parents have to take the lead in demonstrating healthy habits. I am very lucky that I have been able to be at home with my children, and will homeschool them both for as long as I can. I do all the cooking. We rarely get take-out food. I am very firm about what my children can have and what they can't (for example "You just had a granola bar. The next time you eat it will be real food."). They are incredibly healthy eaters. They both love vegetables, beans and other healthy foods. My son even loves the vegetable smooothies I often make for myself for breakfast. They are very, very physically active.
Of course it's not easy if both parents work and the children have to attend daycare, where you have little or no control over what they are eating. But I believe that healthy habits start very early. If your children are fed a sweet breakfast, given cookies and juice for snacks and allowed to have a giant piece of chocolate cake after a dinner of take-out pizza, they are going to develop a taste for sweets which will stay with them for life. My daughter really doesn't like sweets; as a diabetic she sometimes needs to eat whatever I have handy, and it's a real chore getting it into her if it's "too sweet."
Children model what they see. If they see you having a cream doughnut for breakfast, they will want nothing else. If they see you eating whole-wheat toast and peanut butter, they will most likely want whole-wheat toast and peanut butter.
Let's face it-junk food is not going to leave the schools easily, and I agree that a lot more junk-food eating is done at home. What's the solution? How about not making it available at home? How about saying no, and putting up with a little tantrum? It's a whole lot easier to take control of it when the child is 3 than it is to wait until he or she is 13 and teetering on the edge of Typw 2 Diabetes.
parents or schools aren't responsible for all food choices kids make (and will make as they grow). my sister-in-law was never allowed to eat sweets or any junk food. Her family always cooked meals at home from organic ingredients and any sweets they got were home baked from whole wheat flour, etc. Well, as soon as the was able to drive, she gained a lot of weight. We couldn't figure out why, until I needed to borrow her car. I accidently discovered tons of empty packages from doughnuts, cookies, ice cream bars and such..
Kids are people too and they grow up as they will. but you can teach them why healthier food is better , while still allowing a treat every now and then.
But I am afraid some parents don't know how to eat well themselves! One mom proudly told me that her kids don't eat any sugar, but at the same time she was giving her daughter a mid-morning snack of girl scout cookies...I guess she did not think that was sugar..;-)
Of course we all like sweets to a certain extent. It's part of our biology. The trick is to teach children how to eat them without going overboard, and knowing WHEN to eat them. My son could eat chocolate all day long-but he only gets a granola (chocolate) bar or a cereal bar if he's eaten a decent breakfast. He behaves very, very badly if he has a sugary breakfast, so it's not allowed.
Sorry if I gave the impression that I NEVER let my kids have anything sweet. Our cupboards are full of granola bars. We all like them. But they know that sweets are a treat-not a meal. And, like I said before, I keep them very active.
I like to eat healthy, but I'm not stuck on organics, wheat-flour only, etc (in fact, I prefer white bread and Re: Junk Food white rice). We cook at home, but it's very simple food. I tried baking my own bread once; I'd rather be out running than doing that. Perhaps your sister-in-law was just going through a rebellious phase when she got a taste of freedom for the first time. That's the danger of such absolutism, and that's why I let my kids have a certain number of treats.
I do think that today's adults have forgotten how to eat healthy. I used to know a woman whose teenage daughter went to the same dance studio as my daughter. The girl had a horrible diet-doughnuts, chocolate milk-and it really showed on her. She looked like she had had 5 children, and she was only about 14 years old. Was the mother a good example? NO! We used to take our son to a class there on Saturday mornings, and this girl's mother would be sitting there, eating a huge doughnut and drinking her chocolate milk.
So how are today's kids supposed to learn healthy habits when their own parents don't have a clue?
we need to make choices for our kids because we are the adults. That's our job; that's why kids need parents. Kids who raise themselves make terrible mistakes, not just in food choices, but right across the board.
I used to have snacks ready for my boys after school: cut up fruits - melons, peaches, apples, strawberries - and vegetables - fresh cucumber slices and those cute little carrots, bunny bites. No dips of chocolate or ranch dressing. Or a sandwich or something on the stove, like pot roast or barbecue.
I also keep a big basket of candy on top of my refrigerator, and my boys and they're friends have free access to that. And just like the sister-in-law, the kids who are too restricted at home will pack their faces and their pockets. One day, my boys weren't even home, and a car full of their friends burst through my door, a bunch of teenage boys, laughing and shoving each other, trying to get to that candy basket. they must have been talking about how much they all wanted candy. But those boys told me they never have candy or sweets in the house unless it's a birthday or something.
The "eat your vegetables" speech certainly doesn't fly when the parents won't touch vegetables themselves. I love vegetables, and my children know it. My 8 year old has always had a difficult time eating vegetables (a very sensitive gag reflex). Since she refuses to eat meat, I make vegetable and bean soups for her, puree them really well in the food processor and add them to her rice, french toast or pancakes. She was a little suspicious at first, but now she loves it. She tells me exactly what she wants in the soup, and I slip in other stuff as well.
I wanted to add something else. We have really forgotten what "moderation" means. Either we allow nothing fun or interesting, or let the kids go all out and eat WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want. So they don't learn to handle themselves when it comes to eating sweets. They don't learn to stop after 2 or 3 cookies. They don't learn to stop after a handful of chips, or 1 bowl of ice cream.
That is the truth. I once left a bag of those little hershey chocolate bars on the coffee table, and one of the neighbor kids sat in front of the tv and ate the whole bag. Again, his mom never bought anything like that because she, herself, couldn't control how much she ate. I wonder if her son saw her eat one or two pieces of candy and be satisfied if he would learn, like you say, by example.
helen82, this raises the question: what is your favorite vegetable? I love them all, but i am a peas addict. They are my homegrown prozac. I love peas.
Where do I start? There are so many. I'd have to say any kind of leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, red spinach). I love Asian vegetables, too. Tomatoes and avocadoes, although they are technically fruits. This is kind of sick, but my favorite way to eat them is to make soup, then puree it. Or puree cooked veggies with cooked apple, banana and seaweed for a breakfast smoothie.
I can't say I care for peas very much-at least not the sweet peas you find in the US. I love marrowfat peas, but it's impossible to find them here.
And potatoes (baked, with a little olive oil, garlic powder and salt). Is it ime for lunch yet??
i once ate four pounds of peas from the farmers market, all in one day. Then i crawled around on the floor, like a crack addict, looking for the ones I dropped. I never heard of marrowfat peas, but it might be better that way.
You have an adventurous eating style. Do you put crackers in your soup? It sounds like they would go with a pureed veg soup. What seasonings do you use?
Is anybody else interested in this "favorite vegetable" discussion?
I never realized how much I depend on my internet....
And I've been wanting to answer your last post for 3 long weeks.
Spices: There are so many good ones!! I used to be very cautious about mixing them, but lately I've become much more bold. Of course, everything I eat has garlic powder in it. And white pepper. Also dill. Paprika is a new favorite. And olive oil and lemon. I also love basil, but am not so keen on rosemary or sage.
How funny-I used to think I was much more adventurous as a meat eater. I really made it a point to try new things at every opportunity. I think the best thing I ever had was wild buffalo chili in Oklahoma (for breakfast!). I was also a big fish eater (especially sushi...yummy!). But now, as a vegan I have to be a bit more adventurous in order to get a little variety in my food.
The best part of all this is, my 8 year old has become more adventurous about food as well. Her new favorite food is bulghur. And she wants cous-cous for dinner.
So good to be back yo-sal and everybody!!