Over the past year and especially the past few months, I have had several parents and friends approach me with questions regarding what in the heck they should feed their children and what they should pack in their lunch box. It's become clear to me that parents are concerned. And confused. We all want to feed our kids healthy food, but we are bombarded with all these choices.
The bottom line is that we need to take control. We need to feed our children real food. Children should not be choosing what they eat. After all, children are the most vulnerable to advertising messages and big food companies are spending $20 billion dollars per year marketing NON-NUTRIENT foods to children, with the average child seeing 27 ads per DAY.
I have realized that I need to be more deliberate about showing what a healthy lunch looks like that a child will actually eat and I need to be more deliberate about making "kid-friendly" meals available on this site. While I firmly believe that children should eat what adults eat, sometimes we have to deconstruct or slightly alter in order to accomodate a child's preferences or taste buds. The way they see meals is different than the way we do. I will show you how.
First we need to understand WHY we need to feed our children healthy food. We need to see what is really going on in this country regarding the health of our children and what we are doing to feed them. It's not good. In this country, we spend 25 TIMES the amount of money on diet-related ILLNESS than we do on lunch for kids in schools. We spend money keeping people alive, but we aren't spending the money to keep them well in the first place.
This TED Talk featuring Ann Cooper, a leading voice in school lunch reform, is a serious kick in the pants. I've summarized the key points below.
Here are the KEY points to take away:
- CDC says that of the children born in the year 2000, 1 out of 3 caucasians and 1 out of 2 hispanics will have diabetes in their lifetime, most before they graduate high school.
- This could be the first generation of children who will live a shorter life than their parents.
- 9% of children have Type 2 diabetes
- 1 out of 4 meals are fast food
- 1 out of 4 meals are in a car
- 1 out of 4 meals are in front of a TV or computer
- $8 billion per year on food for kids in schools (with much of it going to payroll)
- $110 billion per year on fast food
- $100 billion per year on diet aids
- $200 billion per year on diet-related illnesses
- We spend LESS than $1 per day on lunch for a child
- A latte at Starbucks can easily cost $5, more than a week of food for a child in school
We can CHANGE this. And I will show you how. Stay tuned each week for tips on feeding kids. I'll be making lunches to take to school, lunches to have at home, lunches for those on-the-go days, fun snacks, kid-friendly dinners, deconstructable meals and more.
What are your questions? How can I help?