My husband gave me an article yesterday in USA Today, Parents Can Help Their Children Grow To Love Vegetables, because it is just what I wrote about last week. You can read it online by googling USA Today and looking under health. There were plenty of alarming statistics in this piece. A new study shows that nearly 1/3 of children under 4 eat NO vegetables every day. The best time to introduce vegetables and all foods is in infancy till age 2. After age 2, it may take up to 90 tries to learn to like a new food but 94% of parents give up after only 5 tries. I wonder how many parents give up on teaching their children to talk or to brush their teeth? Why should healthy eating habits be any different? Why are so many parents short changing their children's health? At puberty, many kids may be more open to try new things so this is another chance to introduce better eathing habits.
Picky eaters develop life long poor eating habits. Parents should take notice and work to prevent problems from happening. Our health is largely in our hands and prevention is better and cheaper than a cure. Even if you no longer have young children at home, I hope you will share this blog with people who do.
Parents should also pay attention to what is served to our children at school. Our paper publishes the lunch menu for several area schools and none of the lunches I've seen qualify as an overall healthy way to eat. There are too many of the wrong carbs, too much fat, processed foods and sweets. The fruits and vegetables that are served are usually limp and unappetizing. If you go to school during lunch and watch, you will see that children eat very little and throw away most of the food. There must be a better way to feed our children.
I send my kids lunch with them almost every day. Here are some suggestions for lunches. My kids eat peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread at least twice a week. I also send turkey, chicken, roast beef or ham sandwiches with a slice of cheese and maybe lettuce or tomato. For sides, I send yogurt, cottage cheese, apples, bananas, oranges or grapes. My daughter likes carrots and cucumbers. I pack water or G-2 for drinks and once in a great while, a small soft drink as a treat. These are all easy fast lunches that take about 5 to 10 minutes to prepare. Sometimes I make a simple chicken salad or send leftover homemade chicken nuggets. I have also made wraps or pita sandwiches for something different. I also send chips occasionally as a treat. I also find that kids don't need much at lunch as they have little time to eat. I know some parents say they don't have time to make their kids lunch but that is just saying I don't care enough. We make time for the things that are important to us. Besides, children are capable of making their lunch or at least helping plus, much of the lunch can be assembled the night before.
Adults need to think about their own lunch. Too many of us eat out every day and not only does this cost quite a bit but we generally eat too much of the wrong foods. The old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." really did have merit to it. Think about it and make some changes.