Food in first world countries has become cheaper, and more readily available in the last 20 years. Of course, this isn’t the healthiest kind of food, which has led to some problems. The biggest issue, of course, is the doubling and tripling of cases of childhood obesity.
In 2010, a staggering one in every three children were considered overweight or obese by CDC standards. The issue hit the forefront and the steep incline in weight gain has stabilized and even begun to decline, but that’s not going to mean things get easier. The main question remains, “How are we creating healthier food habits for our kids?”
There has been some work on getting healthier foods in schools, getting rid of the soda machines and making water and juice more readily available to our children. However, marketing isn’t going to give up that easily. Children make up a large portion of profits for fast food companies like McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendys. Getting kids to drag their parents out for fast food is a sound strategy for any fast food marketer. While we could hope that more companies go the way of Taco Bell, who plan to remove kids meals from their menu all together, there is one thing that prevents fast food binges better than anything else.
If dinner at home is a forgone conclusion, then kids aren’t given the option to recommend something better. And that doesn’t mean having to prepare a four-course meal each night, or slave away in the kitchen.
Having a simple and easy to read weekly schedule out, that consists of meals as easy a chicken salads, sandwich night, or even breakfast for dinner can be a major boon. When kids ask for a Big Mac on the way home, the response of “Sorry guys, it’s salad night.” It can dissuade some of the biggest complaints.
Especially when you’re not asking the kids, “what are you hungry for?”
Kids aren’t generally hungry for the healthy stuff.
Planning makes life easier and not just for you:
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
And that’s just in the short term. Long term effects of lifelong obesity include increased risk of a wide-range of diseases and many types of cancer.
Try cutting out trips to the fast food whenever possible, and when you DO make the trip, substitute the fries for apple slices and the soda for milk. Building healthy habits lasts a lifetime, but so do the unhealthy habits.
Many of our customers have also found that keeping the Meal Replacement Bars on hand has been a major boon. Since they taste like candy and have a full multi-vitamin, they’re a great way to satisfy your kids’ sweet tooth.
By Randy Gustman