Today my mind is once again on our children and the battles they face when it comes to unhealthy eating choices, obesity and childhood diseases that were unheard of a short time ago. School lunches seem to get hit big when the blame game begins and believe me I detest school lunches but I don’t think they take the entire responsibility of the poor way our children eat - although I do believe they are a driving factor in poor nutrition offered to our children. By offering pizza, chicken nuggets and hot dogs several times each week, school lunch programs cannot say they are innocent. School is not only an environment where learning in the classroom takes place but also where learning about healthy eating takes place on a daily basis and school lunches are not teaching our kids about healthy food choices.
Parents shape their children’s eating habits. Kids learn what to eat at home. By prioritizing sit down, home cooked family meals (with the television turned off!) children and parents can engage in an actual conversation about the day’s events. Parent’s examples are vital to children developing healthy eating habits. A parent can’t expect their child to sit down and eat a well balanced meal when each night after work they make a trip through the drive-thru for fast food! When a two year old drives past McDonalds and the first words out of his mouth are “french fries”, that should throw up a RED FLAG! To get a sense of how your attitude might influence your children, examine your own behavior toward food:
**Do you snack all day long? **Do you eat while watching TV? ** Do you skip breakfast? **Do you drink pop with every meal? **Do you diet all the time?
Kids pick up on these things and can receive mixed messages about eating habits and their relationship with food at a very early age. There is no stronger message to pass to your children than the importance of healthy habits.
March is National Nutrition Month- an annual campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The goal is to raise awareness of good eating habits and exercise. I have to wonder how effective it really is. While I think it’s a good idea, I don’t know how many people make changes based on the information provided by the ADA. Especially when the typical consumer is more apt to pay attention to the promotions of a new burger or other crappy choice offered at Taco John’s or McDonalds on a daily basis. The fact that we have designated an official month to bring awareness to better eating speaks volumes for the problems society has concerning food. As always, I feel that becoming more aware of what we eat and the choices we make in our diet are steps in the right direction!
*Thought for the day*
You don’t have to be perfect to be better. J