During some of my latest research for my next book I stumbled upon some really scary numbers showing how our youth is growing bigger horizontally yet shrinking mentally. Basically, the research showed that our children are getting fatter and dumber. Being a trainer these studies made me sad and nervous but now that Im a father it makes even more concerned. Everyone has their own opinion on why this is happening and of course, so do I! To keep my hypothesis in it's simplest form I believe kids are not active enough and they are bombarded with terrible "food" choices on a daily basis. The culprit is us, the parents! Our children don't go to the supermarket and buy toaster strudels, frozen pizzas and Oreo cookies, we do! They also don't get in the car and drive themselves to Burger King or McDonalds.
A lot of parents these days want to be the cool mom or dad and give there children whatever they want or they give in to whatever the child asks for simply to shut them up. That is obviously their right to do so but what does that really teach these children?! It teaches them to become whiny, ungrateful, spoiled kids that don't learn to appreciate anything. Our children have so many toys and so many food options and so many video game options that they are learning not to appreciate any of it. I go to my daughters softball games every week and every week I watch dozens of parents and children sit for hours gorging on hoagies, hot dogs and huge sodas. Yes, the kids get a quick blast of energy (sugar rush) and run around for 15 minutes but that isn't enough to combat what they just put into their body. And thats just one meal, imagine what their daily breakfast, lunch and dinner look like.
Our kids will eat what you cook and put in front of them. If we stop giving them 13 options they will learn to appreciate what you made and they will actually have more satisfaction from those foods you spent time on. If they're already use to boxed foods and junk you will have a harder time getting them to eat fruits and vegetables but its in your full power to make these changes and I'll go as far to say its your duty to make these changes. There seems to be a disconnect between what we know and what we do, we know giving our children bullshit foods will lead to dozens of health problems and a higher risk for them to grow up unhealthy (physically & mentally) yet we continue to feed them junk on a daily basis.
There's nothing wrong with a little indulging/snacking on some ice cream once in a while but we have to keep it to a minimum to avoid our next generation from becoming obese. I know its extremely easy to go to the supermarket and buy huge boxes of junk that you can just throw in your kids mouth but its a lot more rewarding and just a little more work to cut up an apple or slice up some strawberries and bag them up for a snack on the go. Time is always an issue when you have work, kids, house duties, stress, etc but name me one thing more important on this earth than your child's health.....I cant think of anything either! Stop rewarding them like their animals at the zoo, they deserve the right to have access to fresh, amazing foods that will allow them to grow up having all the nutrients they need to ensure a heathy life.
We are at a huge disadvantage, especially when it comes to school lunches. Our kids school lunches are absolute crap, these schools simply get contracts with the lowest food bidders! That means our kids are eating the lowest quality, cheapest, longest shelf life type foods. Thats insane! This is where we have to be pro-active and make them a decent lunch to take with them.
As some of you know I am obsessed with parks, hiking and being outside, as I make my daily excursions to parks with my babies I watch almost without exception every parent sitting and staring into their iPhone or iPads and taking no participation in their children's play. "Mommy, look at me", "DADDY, LOOK", nothing! Turn you phones off and tackle your children, swing them around and race them up the slide, thats the ultimate bonding. Honestly, most of these parents are the ones that need to be running around breaking a sweat, not sitting around doing nothing. Don't be afraid to play and look silly with your children, I think the reason many parents don't "play" with their kids is because they fear they will look "dumb" in front of other parents and kids. Don't let that stop you, your kids don't judge, the other parents could care less about what you're doing and you will actually feel awesome when you're done bear crawling and throwing rocks at trees with your cubs.
Here are a couple easy options to give your babies: (yes, there may be a lot of crying and whining if their not use to these types of foods in the beginning but don't give them any other options, stand strong)
* Slice Up an apple and a spoonful of peanut butter
* Handful of Strawberries and Blueberries
* Avocado Smoothie
* Water with their meals (very little juice/milk)
* Slices of Watermelon
* Cut an orange in "4's" (its fun to watch them try and eat around the peel)
All of these snacks are cheap, healthy and are simple to take with you on the go...
We all play a huge role in helping the next generation succeed - If we start by fueling them up properly they can grow up to be confident, hardworking adults that appreciate life.