I always wonder why healthy, clean eating is such a struggle for so many of us. Why is it not a way of life, like reading or going to school is? So many people are not knowledgeable about nutrition and are unaware of how much sugar and chemicals certain foods contain. Some people choose not to eat well and just do not care. Then there is emotional eating, habitual eating and social eating.
Whatever the reason may be, I think a lot of this can be blamed on how we were raised to eat as children. I was recently in two situations that made me wonder why so many kids are expected to only want foods like chicken fingers and Froot Loops.
Last month, I went to a Bar Mitzvah and was reminded about the “kids food” and the “adult food” sections being on two opposite sides of the room. The kids food was a buffet with chicken fingers, French fries, hamburgers, pizza and of course, an ice cream sundae bar. The adult food section contained salad, grilled chicken, grilled fish, roasted vegetables and one not as healthy option, pasta.
Why are the kids expected to only eat fried foods? I know they may like French fries more than a salad, but shouldn’t we be training them to eat vegetables at a young age? These children will grow up eating fried foods and then will have to completely break their unhealthy food habits later in life. It just does not seem fair to make people have to learn how to transition into healthy eaters.
The week after the Bar Mitzvah, I went on my cruise and saw all of the kids walking around with Royal Caribbean water bottles. I heard a father say to his son, “You can fill this up with soda anytime you want.” I looked at the father like he was crazy. I later learned that there was a soda plan that parents could purchase that would allow their children to carry around this water bottle and fill it with unlimited soda. I saw kids with these bottles as early as 8:00 am and as late as 11:00 pm. Some of these kids must have had at least 10 bottles of cola each day. It’s no wonder kids these days have behavior issues!
It really got me upset to see a cola-filled bottle in one hand and a hamburger in the other hand of an already obese kid. I understand that it is vacation but unlimited soda seems a bit (OK very) excessive and unnecessary. I wonder how many of these kids will grow up to be soda addicts.
This issue is super sensitive to me since I am now dealing with breaking the unhealthy habits that I grew up accustomed to as a child. I clearly remember eating sugary cereal or powdered sugary French Toast for breakfast, a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of potato chips, Dunkaroos and Fruit Roll-Ups for lunch, and chicken nuggets for dinner. My dad also took me out for an Oreo ice cream sundae every night after dinner. It’s no mystery why I crave chocolate after every meal. I feel that if I was eating healthy starting at a much younger age, I would not have had to go through the struggle of changing all of my bad habits.
It is our responsibility, as adults and parents, to start educating our children at a young age on nutrition. You never know, they may love a green vegetable juice just as much as soda. I promise they will thank you when they are older.