On my recent trip to Canada I was reading Newsweek and came across a small article about getting kids to pick healthier foods in school cafeterias. One suggestion was to get rid of all the junk food choices available in most schools. This would be highly unlikely to happen and most kids, depending on their age may starve until they reach the 7-Eleven after school. Another suggestion in the article was to rename foods for the younger crowd. “X-ray vision carrots, bulk-up broccoli, groovy green beans…could this get kids to eat more vegetables? According to a Cornell researcher kindergarten kids ate the renamed vegetables 50% more than “plain” vegetables.
I don’t see this being as successful on the older kids.
How do we really get our kids to make better food choices, not only at school but at home? We educate them on nutrition starting at a very early age. This means nutritional education in school as well as at home. Very few schools include any kind of nutritional courses, and most that do start them at the teenage years which may be too late to teach the value of foods. Most children will mimic what they learn in the home environment. If at home you are serving mostly processed foods, high starches and sugar, that is what your kids will learn. And those are the types of foods they will choose when given the opportunity.
In most cases it is a matter of educating the parents as well.
Maybe some of you have seen a show that was running on The Learning Channel called “Honey, we’re killing the kids”. In this show the nutrition expert goes to a typical family’s home with children who may be overweight, unhealthy or just eating all kinds of junk food. Using computer images she shows the parents what their children will look like as adults if they continue the diet and lifestyle path they are currently on. She then goes through their kitchen and teaches the parents and the children about good nutritious food choices verses what they may be eating. She teaches not only about a healthy diet but about a more active lifestyle. She then challenges them within a three week course to use these changes and suggestions. The difference at the end of just three weeks in how these families feel and look are amazing. She then shows the parents again by computer imaging and statistics how their children may look as adults on this healthier, more active lifestyle.
Getting back to the point of where do we start, what do we do NOW to start helping our children eat better? Even if your children are older, it is never too late to start setting a good example. Try starting a program like my Fiber 35 healthy eating plan. The foods suggested, although healthy, are still delicious and allows the kids to have healthy tasty snacks. Although I target weight loss with my Fiber 35 Diet, it is a great, healthy way of eating for your whole family. The recipes are terrific and so are the eating-out tips.
Check out my website for more fiber recipes and snack ideas for your whole family. Do you have some tasty healthy treats? Share your ideas and thoughts here.