No free lunch, even for kids
Fortunately, in this case anyway, kids don’t read newspapers, and so we can address the coming back-to-school chaos. My grandkids won’t suffer a word about back to the classroom, although once they’re there, that’s about all they talk about.
Back to school does means back to the books, but it also means back to bad lunches. Whether school- or Mom-provided, what’s in school lunches these days is often harmful and counter-productive for learning and socializing.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. This is not a natural process. Obesity is created – by everything from decreased physical activity to non-nourishing meals. Eating patterns that begin in elementary and middle school can continue well into adult years. Pediatricians insist that childhood obesity starts in the home; numerous studies support this conclusion. Healthy foods, regular meals, good eating habits all should be a priority for parents (and the schools).
The researchers tell us this is not a form of rocket science. Just reading the label before purchasing food for lunches is a big step.
First, sugar content is key. Sugar is not nourishment or neutral; it is linked to innumerable illnesses and health problems. Easy on the salt and artificial flavours, too.
Read what is in the packaged food you send in school lunches. Studies suggest that the increasing use of dyes in our food leads to hyperactivity, chromosomal issues, lymphoma, and tumors.
Candy is not food. It has absolutely zero nutritional value and is high in sugar. Try sweet but nutrient-dense alternatives. Something like watermelon or berries will give kids the bright colors they see in candy and a sweetness that is actually good for them.
Chips are the classic junk-food. "If you grow up eating junk, it is much harder later on to get away from it," said one researcher. Our bodies become addicted to the sugar and chemicals.
‘High Fructose Corn Syrup’ (watch for it) is another one of these danger foods. Products containing HFCS are a major contributor to digestive problems. It is thought to contribute to the growing cases of fatty liver, diabetes, and obesity.
Juice boxes are a staple, but not always a wise one. They may label themselves as “made with real juice” but the content is very high in sugar. “Steer clear from giving children drinks that will have them bouncing off the walls at school,” said one researcher.
And, finally, do some research yourself. These are your children and you want to nurture them as best possible. Ask yourself if the school lunches we're packing for our kids aren’t making them junk-food junkies? Are we putting them on a path to obesity which they will battle with for the rest of their lives?
Hey, kids are not the ones to make choices about their lunches; they are driven by appetites, not intelligence. You and I, dear parents, are the intelligent ones. Let’s demonstrate it, as we all go back to school.