A child grows tremendously in just one short year and that’s a big reason why it’s important for them to get a well-balanced diet. For some parents, mealtimes can be especially stressful with ‘picky eaters,’ busy schedules, and the hustle and bustle of life. How do we get our children to eat nutrient dense foods then? This can especially be difficult with today’s standard American diet. And don’t get me started on all the food marketing ploys that are targeted towards our young.
I started to question why we have a different menu’s designated to children when I was planning our wedding years ago. When I looked at the options for our child guests, what did it consist of? For a lack of a better term, junk. The options were: mac n’ cheese, deep fried chicken tenders, or a cheeseburger – all while my other adult guests were given the option of broiled fish, steak or gluten free vegetarian option. Does this sound fair? I must admit, even though I didn’t have a child at that time, it really bothered me that there was such a drastic difference in the quality of foods offered between adults and children. Now being a mother, it bothers me even more.
Children grow exponentially in a short period of years. They are growing and being made from the nutrients they are fed, from the foods that they eat. If I were building a house – I would want to make sure that the structure and foundation of my home was strong. Right? Well the same goes for growing and building your child. So that leads me to question the foods that are targeted towards our children.
It’s the beginning of the year and most people have made resolutions – most revolving around being healthy. I think I can say that most people who are dedicating their year to eating healthy would not be choosing to eat hot dogs, cheese pretzels, macaroni and cheese, deep fried nuggets, French fries, pizza, etc. all which are classic items on the kid’s menus. These foods are highly processed, are pro-inflammatory, and lack nutrients needed for our bodies.
Let’s talk about how our young are being targeted towards choosing unhealthy foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports: marketing toward children puts their long-term health at risk by enticing them to eat foods that are low in nutrition. Fast food restaurants invest billions of dollars a year to attract children to eat at their establishments. What about the candy companies? Why do you think candy is so brightly colored with artificial food dyes? Why is the candy sitting right at the checkout isle at your grocery store? These are all ploys targeted toward your child to get them to ask and beg for that product.
As a mother and healthcare provider this scares me. These foods are void of nutrients, addictive and can lead to health complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem, depression and more. We know sugar is addictive, it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine according to Dr. Hyman. (I recommend watching the documentary ‘Fed Up’ to learn more about sugar.)
Let’s not ignore the negative health effects of sugar so that we don’t become victims to it. Remember at one point, tobacco claimed that it was okay. Ancestrally, sugar was available a few months of the year (fruit, honey). Dr. Lustig says, “Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy.”
Dr. Mercola states, “for the first time in history, “lifestyle” diseases – diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers – are killing more people than communicable diseases.”
Let’s raise our future leaders in this world with wholesome foods. Let’s limit the amount of sugar that our young are getting so that they don’t acquire an increased desire for it.
Stay tuned for the next post on ways to help make healthier choices and how to help avoid ‘picky eaters.’