The opposite of Paleo. That’s what my kids eat. Bread and cheese. Then they follow it up with a sugar-filled processed granola bar (but it’s organic) plus some fruit and a single piece of broccoli. And boy have we battled over the single piece of broccoli! #winning.
Now, I’m not a Paleo die-hard. By any stretch. But it’s hard not to notice that craptastic food is in high demand among little ones. And, to be honest? Often times I just don’t care. I want these little darlings to stop whining, so I hand over whatever silences them. Or I avoid giving them healthy options from the start because I am also avoiding a battle. The immediate benefit of peace and quite supersedes the unknown, long-term, supposed risk of whatever this food could be doing to their health.
I have justified these choices all the while, even though, believe it or not, I consider myself educated on a nutritional front. And I myself would have to feel literally starving to shove a Z-Bar in my mouth. But I make excuses for feeding it to my kids. Like…
- “They are BOYS. They just need something to fill their bellies.”
- “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Making healthy options available is so time consuming!
- “Science schmience.” Don’t the ‘studies’ all change from decade to decade? Plus there are 25 gazillion different studies on food out there, and they all seem to be saying something different.
- “I ate like that growing up, and I am fine.”
- “You’ve got to pick your battles.”
At the risk of you thinking that I am being too hard on myself, this HAS to change. It’s one thing for our parents to have loaded us with cereal and grains back in the 90s, when they thought that was good for us. But now?
Now? The most recent research indicates that more young people (under the age of 20) are being diagnosed with ADULT ONSET diabetes. That’s type 2, not type 1. In children.
Now? Alzheimer’s disease is related to insulin sensitivity and researchers are calling it “Type Three Diabetes.”
Now? Study after study proves that gluten and a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet causes inflammation, which is at the root of all degenerative diseases.
However, I don’t really need the research. All I have to do is watch what happens when my kids get juice boxes at school for their Valentine’s Day parties. They come home and act like tyrants. Donuts for breakfast = a fun day of temper tantrums. Well, the donuts were fun while they lasted!
But you want to know the really crazy thing? I keep BUYING all the crap! Why am I doing this? Why give them the option? I have responsibility for these kids until they can grow up and be responsible for themselves. On one hand, I need to teach them. I need to make them aware of how the Halloween candy turned them into a little devil. On the other hand, I need to remove the stumbling block from their path!
This battle needs to be fought. The information is there. What you eat absolutely affects everything in your body, from your brain to your gut, which affects your quality of life. For me? It feels unloving to keep doing it the way I’ve been doing it.
My kids’ diet sucks and has to change. So here’s what I am going to try to do to spark a change:
- Have a loving talk with my kids who are old enough to understand. I’m not going to just take away all their favorite foods without explaining why. But I can definitely call a family meeting to say, “This is how things are going to be around here, and here’s why.”
- Substitute as many sugary, processed grains as possible with protein, healthy fats, or veggies.
- Stop buying the junk. Easier said than done right? I get so afraid of these kids being hungry, but we have no idea what true hunger feels like. I also know they will likely NOT eat the healthy options I present them (at first), and I hate “wasting” food. But, crap food is a waste whether you eat it or not. And eventually, if they stop eating the junk, they’ll be hungry enough to eat the broccoli.
- Eat at home as often as we can.
- Don’t give up. There will be setbacks, and I know at some point I will say, “What the heck,” and want to throw in the towel. It’s okay. We can always begin again.
Here’s to valuing your kids’ health and future!