It fuels our bodies, our brains, our emotions. It determines whether we function fully or half arse. So, what are you eating? Are you diluting your body with sub-par food or using the premium supply that can harvest your energy?
At the MomsRising Food Power conference in New York, I met women, and men, who are striving to unjunk food, in schools, and in homes. They are advocates and realists, striving to halt the rise in childhood obesity.
Unhealthy food choices passed down from generation to generation are the norm in many families, including mine. As a result, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetics have become the norm in our family circle. As a speaker, I shared my own wake up call, which occurred three years ago, when my then 15 year old son was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The idea that my son could possibly have a heart attack and die was something that I could not ignore. It changed how I viewed food. It also changed how I cooked. Why? Because as the mother, I controlled certain aspects of my sons’ lives. I made the purchasing decisions, packing our cupboards with high fat, high sodium foods that placed my son at risk; consequently, I also had to change my ideas of what was “healthy” and how we related to it.
Karen Showalter a MomsRising’s advocate, headed a very informative session titled “Junk Food Marketing to Children: How to stop the onslaught of advertising through television, smart phones and the web!” It showcased how the media aims advertising at our children. As parents, it’s important we understand the process so that we can protect our children an also explain it to them, in an age appropriate manner. Per Karen, “If left unchecked these practices have the potential to exacerbate a public health crisis – obesity and obesity related diseases.”
As a realist, I know my children, and I, will never entirely eliminate junk food from our lives. We will succumb to the occasional doughnut cart on our way to work/school. After a long day of work, I may choose to bake a batch of pre-packaged breaded chicken, because it’s all I can muster that evening. I’m also sure that during a long day of traveling, we’ll head straight to the nearest fast food joint. However, I’ll make sure to reach for the packaged white chicken meat with less sodium and purchase the smaller kid’s meal. Because I’ve learned that prohibiting junk food creates a rebellion, a sort of feast or famine type reaction, that is much worse than the occasional transgression.
As parents, we have the power to re-train our children and their palettes. Starting earlier is always best, but not always done, as shown in my own life. However, we can still implement changes, no matter how small, into their lives. We can choose to refuse the sugary juices and sodas, the trans-fat and the “soul food” our parents raised us with. We can also make an effort to become more active, jumping rope, dancing, and walking whenever possible. Small changes, because all big things begin with one small action.
Our children deserve it. They deserve a chance at a longer and healthier life.
Let’s talk! How do you incorporate healthier foods in your diet and your family’s diet? Do you hide veggies, as I do, in your dishes? Or, do your children embrace it willingly?