Marching Into Fitness: Healthy Food Choices and Kids

March 28, 2010


While I was watching TV earlier this last week, I saw a preview for a new show starting called, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” It sounded interesting so I set my DVR to record it. Oddly, it only recorded one of the two hours. So I still need to go back and watch the first episode on ABC online. (So if you missed either or both, you can still watch it and get caught up. It’s going to be an ongoing series that airs on Friday evenings on ABC.)

Now while I obviously don’t know what any of the other episodes will be like going forward, I did love most of what I saw in the last one. I was amazed at how when fixed healthier foods in the elementary school, that the kids wouldn’t eat them or asked for pizza and chicken nuggets. I had a sickening feeling in my stomach when he took a chicken carcass and then ground it up in a food processor. He showed the kids the “mess” and they were disgusted by it until he formed it in a patty and fried it up. Then they still wanted to eat it since it resembled a chicken nugget, despite knowing it was guts, bones and tissues. But what really made me sad was when he went into a classroom of 6 year olds and they didn’t know the difference between potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.

It had me wondering what my children would do in situations such as these. I do know that my 3 year old can tell you what almost any vegetable is and my 16M old could pick up most of them that you asked her to find.  But what about when given the choice between healthy and processed food choices? Well, yesterday when I was at my nieces birthday party, I saw one example. My sister had made a cake that had blueberries and strawberries on top that formed a flag pattern. When she cut my 16M old a piece of cake, she gobbled down the fruit and wanted more, not interested so much in the cake. She then went on to eat half a bowl of fresh cut-up strawberries leaving the cake behind on her plate.

I’ve done what I can to give my children healthy meals. We always sit at the table for our meals and while I don’t deprive them of chicken nuggets, pizza or french fries, they are always given several healthy options to choose from. They will choose milk over juice boxes. Several times they want an apple, banana or grapes over chips. And put some blueberries on the table and it’s like they block out anything else that’s served.

I try to include them in on making our meals, as well. I only let them watch/help when there’s absolutely no chance of them getting cut by a knife or burnt from a hot oven or what’s on the stove. But they can do little things like washing vegetables/fruit, stirring things in a bowl or even adding ingredients to an unplugged and cold crockpot. Like they said on the show, having your children be involved in the making of meals is also an important process for what they choose to eat.

While I’m not sure how much of the show is “real” or just “reality show real” I did like the message that it offered: Start your kids off young knowing about healthy choices and making sure their meals aren’t all processed foods. So I’m hoping that you will also take a look at the choices you offer your kids this week and try to include several healthier choices. I know I’m going to be asking myself at every meal—are there enough healthy choices here? While I can’t control the choices they’ll make later in life, I would like to give them the foundation that they need at a young age to be healthier later in life.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cari March 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

I haven’t watched this show yet, but I have heard a lot about it. It’s now set up to dvr on Friday! This topic, along with many others, worries me when it comes to children these days. It’s a scary, scary thought.

2 Jaime March 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I love your write up on this! I missed the show but I’ll have to watch it. I don’t have kids but a friend who has a 12 and a 9 year old is always amazed when their friends come over and can’t identify the veggies she serves. Her rule is if they’re in her house, they have to at least try it and most of the time they leave with a new food they like! I have been cooking a low cholesterol, low salt, meat free diet for the last year (hubby has horrible cholesterol) and we’ve been amazed how many delicious, healthy, natural foods are out there that we’ve never had before! Butternut and acorn squash, quinoa, lentils, and kale are some of my favorite foods now! We’re also planning to watch Food, Inc because it sounds like it has a lot of great info but hubby is worried it’s going to “ruin” food for him. :)

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