As a health coach, I’m so delighted when I hear so many efforts to get kids eating healthy. It’s everywhere I go. Grocery stores like Publix have programs to teach children at a very early age about healthy eating; the schools won’t allow parents to bring cupcakes and treats for birthdays anymore because they’ve gone healthy; camps and community centers have begun wellness initiatives. What I’m hearing is so inspiring.
What I’m seeing is not so inspiring. The very same schools that proclaim their healthy stand are feeding students sugary, processed cereals and snacks for snack time. The lunches continue to be processed foods. Lunch trays on a given day can consist of heated frozen pizza (with a white flour crust) accompanied by a roll made of white flour. The parents aren’t allowed to bring in sugary snacks, but the kids are. One particular day I witnessed a young boy wrap potato chips in airheads and chow down for lunch. I actually felt pretty bad for his teacher that day. Publix Grocery Store that touts its healthy initiatives with Greenwise and Publix Preschool Pals participated in a summer camp activity. Their planned kid’s activity was making your own cupcakes. They brought bags and bags of frosting, and let the kids pile on as much as they wanted. Some kids decorated their cupcakes with six inches of frosting. If that wasn’t enough sugar for one day, they also brought Rice Crispy Treats and candy for the kids to make candy sushi rolls. One particular camper had dance class after summer camp, which didn’t go well with her Publix snack. She ended up vomiting in her dance class.
I haven’t been this confused since the war in Iraq. Why is there such a gap between what we’re hearing and what we’re seeing? If I’m confused, how can our children possibly be able to keep up?
So what do we do? Be informed; know what your kids are eating. I was taken in by the healthy school lunch propaganda once, and let my daughter buy some school lunches because she wanted to be able to eat with her friends. Within a few days her behavior was changing. No more school lunches.
Teach them at home what healthy means. Encourage your children to help in the kitchen. Make them a part of the meal planning process. If you need support, talk to a Health Coach.
Let the companies, schools, and others know how you feel about their mixed messages.
We make the difference for our children!