For many parents, it can be tough not to notice the increase in communications coming home from your child’s school about sending the kids with healthy snack options. You may also have seen recent notes coming home from your schools announcing that vending machines are being removed. This measure is to prevent children from consuming sugary snacks between classes. Do your children participate in school lunches? If so, you may have noticed the shift in the types of food choices they have, along with the portions that are given out. These changes are good measure and a positive step toward rebuilding a healthy society.
Did You Know That 1 Out Every 3 Children In America Are Obese?
Sad but true, our country is seeing obesity rise at an alarming rate and many of our children will grow up at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes because poor food choices are offered. In fact, 1 out of every 3 children in America is overweight and/or obese. That’s triple the number from the early 1960′s!
I noticed one parent stating that she was disturbed that she was asked to not send candy on Valentine ’s Day. As an alternative, she was asked to send a different item such as a sticker, pencil or trinket. The reasoning behind this is because they are trying to promote healthy eating. I guess she felt that a little candy won’t hurt anyone. I agree that a little candy won’t hurt anyone, yet I didn’t feel it was a change that was so significant, that it required a letter to be written to a school board.
Why do you ask?
Simply put, while she may be able to control her children’s intake on unhealthy eating to a minimum, other parents simply don’t know how. Sure children who eat unhealthy at home will probably always have that option, but if my taxes are paying to subsidize the cost of school lunches, then I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on unhealthy food choices which will eventually lead to long terms health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
If obesity in America continues to rise, it will potentially account to 16-18% of all health care costs in America by 2030, meaning that about 50% of Americans will be obese.
What Can We Do To Prevent This From Spiraling Out Of Control
I think we need not continue removing vending machines in our schools; instead, offer snack stands that provide students the option to purchase whole fruits, bulk grains, and vegetables. In addition, I think we need to continue providing health education on healthy eating snacks to our children at a young age. I remember back in my days growing up, learning about healthy snack options such as; Ants on a Log, Apples and Peanut Butter, Yogurt with fruit and Granola, just to name a few. Perhaps a family-focused newsletter that is sent home monthly should be shared with parents highlighting some sample recipes, and also family activities that will get the whole family moving and involved. Perhaps some fun tips should be shared on the many health and social benefits a child will gain through family activities.
Healthy Eating Can Taste Good Too!
Nuts are a great healthy food to incorporate into your child’s diet. There are many places to purchase nuts online, making them easily accessible. Nuts are very easy for kids to eat. It’s not as daunting of a task to feed them as vegetables. In general, the tuts have a great amount of nutritional value. These little superfoods contain high concentrations of amino acids, proteins, and carbohydrates. Eating healthy starts with willpower from the parent. Nuts are a great way to get your foot in the door.