Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kids These Days..

My grandmother sent me an article in the mail the other day that discussed how children's eating habits have changed over the past century. None of it was news to me, but it did bring up some feelings of anger that I have towards the way many children in the country eat today. Just the other day at work, a woman and her son came through my line and had a stack of lunchables. (By the way, I do not offer advice to people in my line about nutrition.. it would cross a line and I would be there all day with the crap I see..) Anyway, I grab the stack and the one on top is pepperoni pizza. The little boy pipes up and says, "That one is my favorite! Which one is YOUR favorite?" I honestly told him that I have never had a lunchable in my life but that I agree with him, this one looks like the best. (In my head I was screaming.) The mother turns to me and says, "Oh I know, aren't they disgusting? And they have like no nutrition in them whatsoever but he has to have them. Its like a status symbol at school I guess." I punched her in the face. Well, not really. But I wanted too. What kind of sense does it make to intentionally feed your child something that you admit you know has no nutrition in it, something you think is disgusting and BAD for you, but its ok because "he likes it"?? Its one thing if you honestly don't know better. But she clearly does.

There is a commercial that drives me crazy, I think its for Pedialyte or something, where the mother talks about how her daughter will not eat anything healthy. And the line says something like, "..and when her picky eating habits started affecting her health.." Excuse me? Am I the last person to be raised by a mother who made me eat my vegetables even if I didn't like them? Do mothers not do this anymore? And its not like I was an easy child who ate what I was told. I despised broccoli as a child. In fact, I still hate it. I have distinct memories of gagging over my plate, crying, telling her I hated her, etc. And she would sit there calmly and say, "You are not excused from the table until the broccoli is gone." Simple as that. I am suffering no lasting ill effects from this. Its not as if I am now scarred for life because my mother made me eat things that didn't taste good because they were good FOR me.

Anyway, it is a fact that childhood obesity is a quickly growing problem in this country. It breaks my heart to see kids who are completely inactive, who are not made to eat a balanced diet, and who will suffer severe consequences as a result. I see them every single day that I work. I see little, little kids running around the store with soda, literally throwing themselves around and being totally out of control because they are too young to handle all that caffeine. I see these things, and I'm sad. The only consolation that I have is that I know when I have kids, I will raise them the way my mother raised me. They will not be excused until they eat their vegetables. They will not even have the option for lunchables, or soda, or sugary cereals. I don't think my any means that I will be a perfect parent, but I will do my absolute best to make sure my kids eat well, every single day of their lives, in order to become healthy adults.


Michelle Hoad said...

Amen and hallelujia! I'm an eat your veggies kind of mom and if they think they need therapy later because of it, too bad. I'm fortunate that my kids are good eaters, but it could have something to do with the fact that we don't have junk food around our house. Coincidence? I think not.

Jennifer said...

Couldn't agree more!! And notice that your mother made you eat your veggies, and now you care about your nutrition and health. I guarantee Lunchable kid is constantly sick (since he doesn't get enough vitamins) and will grow up to have serious health problems.

Rachel said...

Good job Michelle! (Breathing a small sigh of relief that there are still mothers like this out there...) And no, I don't think its a coincidence.

Jennifer, my mom and I discussed this last night and she said essentially the same thing.