Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kids and Vegetables....growing them up right

At the risk of being incredibly politically incorrect, I'm going to get up on my soapbox. So here goes...

I have 3 little boys, ages 6 down to 1. So I'm in a lot of places where other little kids are. Lately, I have been shocked at the number of overweight children. Yes, the news talks about it all of the time, but to actually see it with your own eyes is a bit different. On my son's t-ball team there are 3 incredibly overweight children. 3 out of 10??? Those are some crazy statistics.

So I am left to ponder...can Mickey D's really be held responsible for fat kids?? Of course not. Can parents? Of course. But lets dig deeper into the issue....what about schools?? You know, the places where most kids spend the majority of their lives? What exactly are school lunches? Are they whole grains? Are they fresh fruits and veggies grown in an environmentally responsible way? Are they pesticide/antibiotic/growth hormone free? Do they have quality sources of protein?

The answer to all of these questions....ABSOLUTELY NOT. And now I'm yelling.

pause...deep breath.

Growing up, I was the kid with the rice cakes, slathered with almond butter, carrot sticks and raisins in my lunch box. No milk money for me, no disgusting school salisbury steak. I must admit, I hated being that kid. I threw away those quality lunches some of the time because they were so incredibly embarrassing. I longed for Twinkies and PB&J on white bread.

Now I face the dilemna my mom surely had...How to pack a lunch for my soon to be kindergartener without ostracizing him. Hmmmm.

But back to veggies...people (correct that...other moms) are always asking me: How do you get your kids to eat such weird stuff? (Usually they're talking about asparagus or artichokes). And I say -- Uh, they don't have a choice?? So I admit it, I'm the mean mom on the block. And I might be kind of obsessive about my kids getting at the very least, five fruits and veggies a day. But frankly, it makes me sleep better. So there.

Sustainable agriculture...to me it means teaching my kids where their food comes from. It means really helping them to learn how animals are grown for food, where different vegetables and fruits are grown, and elaborate on the journey they take to get to our fridge. Because that's how I think we can change our "childhood obesity" epidemic.

Food is how we fuel our bodies...our bodies hold our souls so really we feed our very deepest being when we eat. My soul does not want to be fed Mickey D's. It's that simple.

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