I was watching the news the other night while preparing a wonderful, well-balanced meal for my kids that included three kinds of vegetables. I knew they were going to try to pick out the veggies and sighed to myself about how hard it is to instill healthy eating habits into kids these days – even though fruit and veggies have been part of their diets since they were old enough to eat them smooshed.
A news story came on about kids in a school who were complaining that they are so hungry at school because of the new, healthier school lunches. These lunches now have about half the plate devoted to fresh fruits and vegetables. The famished kids were so angry, they created an elaborate music video to show how they were fainting during gym and the like. Oddly, the amount of trash in the lunchroom trash cans increased by about 50% right about the same time. Hmmmm.
Yes, turns out that when they examined the trash that was being thrown out by the kids after lunch, it was made up primarily of the healthy stuff. So, it wasn’t that the lunches weren’t substantial enough. It was that the kids were rebelling against the healthy foods. One boy, quoted on camera said, “It’s just too healthy!” Click here to see the clip:
As I served up a healthy veggie-filled dinner to my family, I grew angry as a preparer-of-food and feeder-of-children. And, I grew more concerned for the health of today’s children. What’s going on here?
I know, I know. Kids have always rebelled against healthy foods, probably since Adam and Eve’s kids whined, “But Mom, I HATE apples!” Okay, well maybe that’s not such a good example. Still, we have to eat them. In fact, we have to eat lots of healthy things like whole grains and lean protein so that our bodies function as well as they can.
Initially, I felt self-righteous and said to myself, “well, if more parents put healthy foods in front of their children from the very first and limited their exposure to unhealthy foods, then eating healthy would come naturally to them!” But then I caught my self-righteous self and asked, “Who are you kidding? You did that and your kids would still choose a burger and fries over a plate of quinoa and roasted vegetables any day – EVERY DAY.”
I buy plenty of healthy foods and have fruit sitting out on the counter as an easily accessible food choice. But I’ve also given in and bought cheesy crackers and ice cream because they pleaded for it. “Oh, okay, but this won’t be a regular thing,” I say to them. “Right,” they say back, smirking under their breath because they know better. If I won’t buy it, they’ll get it from their friends at school or when visiting someone’s house or with their own money.
And so, my fellow parents, I don’t know what the solution is. Have any of you managed to really, truly instill healthy eating into your kids’ lives so that they actually eat it and, dare I say, enjoy it? If so, how did you do it? How do those of us who really want to help our children have life-long healthy-eating habits make it happen without them throwing that healthy food, and their own health, in the trash? Or, heaven-for-bid, making and posting a video about how hungry they are at home too!
Please share your tips below in the comments section! Let’s help each other help our kids.
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