Kids want to feel healthy. They know it allows them to play and have fun.
When I give talks to elementary children, tweens, and teens, they all want more information on their digestive system, foods, nutrients, acute and chronic diseases; I sometimes can’t keep up with all their questions, concerns, and debates. However, I adore every minute I spend with these inquisitive kids – they shed a bright light on the topic of food and health.
After the talk, the teacher will often let me know that the discussion made an impact on the students. Also, happy parents would call her in regard to it.
Unfortunately, I do hear from time to time, that kids say their parents are too busy to purchase the whole foods we talked about and that they were still eating at fast-food restaurants.
“Instead, we found that when you take soda and high-fat snacks out of schools, students did not compensate at home. Instead, they ate better at school and no worse at home,” said lead study author Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.
We, as parents, need to make a significant effort to provide them whole, healthy foods. I realize parents are busy and tired. I understand it, but as parents, we need to make a conscious effort to break the lousy food cycles.
Bring the healthy back into the pantry
A few of my suggestions:
- do not keep junk food in the house; save it for parties and picnics
- get the kids to find recipes that they want to eat
- let the kids shop with you; challenge them to find whole colorful foods
- always have cut up veggies and hummus and bean dip in the fridge
- have a bowl of fruit available
- fill glass containers with nuts and seeds for the kids to easily grab
Here is a quick meal I recently whipped together.
I was in no mood to cook, but I had some polenta, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, peas, carrots, and romaine. I quickly sliced the polenta, put a spoonful of tomato sauce on each, and placed some cheese, and placed it in the oven. While waiting for the polenta to heat and for the cheese to melt, I cooked the peas, thinly slice some carrots, washed the lettuce, and put together a salad. In 15 minutes, I had a hugely satisfying and tasty meal for everyone.
Let’s try to give our kids a chance to feel and be healthy. They deserve it!