Our children are the first generation in human history to have less life expectancy than their parents.
Did that sentence sink in?
I always find parents kind of ironic; I have an inside look since I’m one of them.
They keep their children safer THAN EVER BEFORE with helmets, car seats and such. They make their children smarter than ever before with their piano lessons and their spanish clubs; shuttle them to and fro, even. But then they let them eat so much sugar and chemicals that it is killing them; setting them up for failure and even making them sick.
When it comes to their nutrition, let’s face it, parents are DROPPING THE BALL.
Are you a parent? Ask yourself:
- Does your child eat sugary cereal? Check the label. Look at the ingredients list. Is it less than four ingredients and less than 10 grams of sugar? No? Then we need to change this. (If I’m totally honest, the 10-grams of sugar is not okay; it should be 0-grams —> kids do NOT need sugar for breakfast)
- Does your child eat yogurt? Check the label. Look at the ingredients. Does it contain more than milk and cultures and maybe vitamins A/D…? How about the sugar. Is it more than 5-6 grams of sugar? Yes? Then we need to change this.
- Does your child eat goldfish? (or any other version of snack-in-a-box or bag?) Yes? Then we need to change this.
- Does your child eat chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, hot dogs, corn dogs or pizza more than once per month? Or any combination of two or more of these things, more than once per month? I think you’ve guessed it. We need to change this.
- Does your child eat LESS THAN 2 servings of fresh vegetables (plain, no butter, sauces or breading) per day? Yes? Then we need to change this.
- Does your child eat fruit that is not in its natural state/form, instead of whole fresh fruits that are in its natural state/form? Think mandarin oranges and peaches in a can or applesauce. Most frozen fruit is okay. Yes? Then we need to change this.
- Does your child eat enough calcium for their growing bones? If you say No or I don’t know. Then we need to change this.
- Does your child eat more than 20 grams of sugar in a day? AND WOW that’s a lot. They should be eating even less than that? Yes or I don’t know… You guessed it.
- Does your child eat dessert every day (or more than once per week)? I think you’re getting the point.
- Do you sit at the dinner table with them to eat dinner most nights? Yes? Good JOB!
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, download onto your smartphone a little app called My Fitness Pal. Spend the next 14 days tracking every morsel of food they eat. And I mean every morsel. Be honest. It’s very important that you know how much your child is ingesting of: sodium, sugar, fiber, protein, calcium and healthy fats (at a very minimum).
Notice I did not say calories?
Obviously, we can’t control our children. BUT we can do our best to set them up for success and teach them how to make healthy choices when they are ready to do so for themselves.
Go ahead and digest this a bit and ask some tough questions of yourself. If you’d like to jump out of denial, please read this blog post from last year and stay tuned. I have a follow up post on this subject.
Making healthy choices for the family is one of the most rewarding, yet hardest things you can do. It’s just as important as the helmet and the car seat because it saves them from a future full of this: