There is a great need to educate our youth about nutrition- especially with the direction their health is headed. I work hard to encourage others to eat well and fuel their bodies to be at their best. I primarily work with adults, but there is a need for educating families and including their children in the process is a must. (I have worked with a few families.)
Now that I have a son, I am even more concerned about his diet. As my baby gets older and I introduce new solid foods, I want him to learn how to eat well to get the nutrition he needs. There are so many mixed messages out there with marketing claims and new conflicting health studies announced daily. How can we expect our kids to learn when the adults teaching them aren’t sure how?
Before my son was born I visited various daycare facilities to find one suitable for him. As I toured, I would ask to see their menu. Most places seemed surprised (which sadly didn’t surprise me). I suppose most people were just happy their kid was being fed. On the other hand, I wanted to make sure my son actually got a nutritious meal rather than a day full of empty calories. Some facilities were so proud that their menus were ‘catered’ by local restaurants. Providing menus consisting of BBQ, pork and beans, slaw and pizza as staples on their menu. Other daycares had pizza as well along with canned chicken and dumplings, chicken nuggets and other processed foods. They at least did have some fruit and veggies available as well.
I’ll admit when I looked at other daycares I wasn’t too thrilled with their menus either. I don’t understand why we start out teaching our children they are supposed to eat ‘kid foods’. This is a stage in which we are developing their palates. They are learning what they like and want. While I don’t expect to have everything homemade (although that would be ideal), I would like to see less processed options. I can’t be the only one, right?! My concern is-Why did ‘kid foods’ become the norm? To me, processed foods like chicken nuggets, pizza, and burgers are ‘sometimes foods’, not meant to be served up every day or even every week for lunch.
Just recently I signed a paper allowing my son to be able to eat more solids at daycare (until now, I was bringing them in or he was drinking my breast milk). I realize a lot of childcare facilities are required to follow certain guidelines when it comes to meals provided and funding. I’m sure they will argue it’s easier and they don’t have time to cook other healthier foods or they don’t have a full kitchen to do so. But I also know there are healthier, less processed alternatives that can be selected.
That said, I’m asking parents to rethink your child’s meals. Start making a change. Request that our children are fed better choices. Studies show that if children eat low-sugar, nutritious diets they are able to concentrate and participate more in class. Meaning it gives them even more of an opportunity to learn and excel.
I do realize I’m not the norm. I also believe we need to start making changes at home too. Something has got to give when it comes to the health of our future generations. They can’t thrive on pizza and soda alone.
What I’d like to see- less processed like I mentioned above, less added saturated fat and sugar, and more whole grains. More fresh fruit and veggies too-less canned options. Food should be fun still, and tasty. Children should have a healthy balance between sometimes foods and everyday foods, but things need to change.
Start small, make changes today. Contact me for more information on Wellness Coaching if you aren’t sure where to begin.