Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Kids Deserve Some Credit for their Dietry Choices

September 5, 2012

 

There is a misnomer that children today eat worse today than than ever before. This is not my experience.

For starters, in my day it was unheard of for children to be drinking water of their own volition. It was always juice or soft drink. Water was for post sport hydration only. Children today happily drink water. My students are forever filling up their drink bottles. In my day drink bottles were for fitting on your bicycles for long rides in the summer time.

I only seldomly ate vegetables on their own. My vegies needed to be cooked, flavoured and magically reinvented before I would eat them. The thought of opening my lunch box and finding a container full of celery sticks was not something I wished to contemplate. Children today are only too happy to snack on carrot sticks and apple pieces. If you put a fruit and vegetable tray in front of 10-years-olds, you’d better have another tray in reserve. They would finish the contents in no time.

The key difference between then and know is exercise. I played on the street with my neighbours after school. My parents didn’t need to supervise. In those days kids were allowed to play outside without it being seen as dangerous or an example of poor parenting.

School cafeteria regulations and lunch policies can be extremely inflexible on our children. Sometimes I look at the example of our generation and wonder if we are not a bunch of hypocrites. Whilst teachers and office workers leave the premises to get a fast food option for lunch, children are left to eat food our generation would of refused to eat.

Whilst our kids are making the progress, many of us continue to indulge. Take this silly article for example:

Could you consume a giant burger comprising three beef patties, six bacon rashers, six slices of cheese and pulled pork in just 10 minutes?

This is exactly what one restaurant in London is challenging its diners to do.

At eight inches high, this gigantic burger is a real contender for the title of the UK’s tallest burger.

Weighing in with a gut-busting 3,000 calories – more than an entire daily intake of calories for a man – the burger is being sold as part of an eating challenge at the at the Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton.

To take part in the challenge, contestants in the Devastator Burge Challenge must eat the entire burger, with accompanying fries and milkshake in under ten minutes.

Those who manage to defeat the burger earn their photo on the wall of fame behind the restaurant’s bar area.

Not surprisingly, the challenge has taken down many of those who dare to take it on – just 5 per cent of people who attempted it have succeeded. Incredibly, one challenger managed to complete the entire meal in just six minutes.

There is no doubt that our children could improve their diet choices and become a lot more active. But considering the role-models we have out there, our kids are doing far better than the media has us believe.

Click on the link to read my post on A Long School Day With No Time to Eat

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

 

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6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids

April 19, 2012

 

It is very difficult task to ensure that your child is eating the right foods and is not overdosing on unhealthy, preservative ridden rubbish. It can make me feel quite despondent when my daughter’s lunchbox comes back with the chopped up vegetables and apple untouched.

I appreciated reading Casey Seidenberg’s tips for helping kids have a heathy relationship with food:

1 Food, especially unhealthful food, shouldn’t be used as a reward. The common incentive used by parents “Eat your vegetables so you can have dessert” clearly communicates to children that vegetables are to be avoided and desserts are to be desired.

2 Food should not be used as a punishment either. Taking away dessert as discipline teaches kids that dessert is the prize.

3 Labeling a food as “bad” can cause children to feel guilty or bad themselves when they eat it. Instead label unhealthful foods “sometimes foods,” as they really are the foods we should eat only sometimes.

4 Unhealthful foods shouldn’t be labeled “treats” either. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids perceived a delicious ripe peach or a slice of summer watermelon as a treat?

5 A child forced to eat may not learn what it feels like to be hungry or full, or how to listen to his body. Sometimes kids are not hungry. That’s okay. Don’t then force them to eat five more bites.

6 Teaching children that a holiday or celebration is about spending time with friends, participating in a fun activity or being active together, instead of simply consuming a lot of food and drink, is an important message. When our kids are teenagers and win a sports championship, or when they are adults and receive a promotion, we hope they will understand that celebrating does not need to be focused on excessive consumption of food and drink.

So as much as I’d love to tell my children that they should never eat at McDonald’s and always refuse soda and fluorescent food products, that’s not a healthy message. And knowing most kids, it might make them more determined to get their paws on those forbidden fruits!

So what is the right message to our kids?

The right message is that certain foods nourish our bodies, make us strong and help us feel good. We should fill our bodies with those foods when we are hungry at a meal. Other foods don’t do those wonderful things for us, so we should eat them on occasion. All food should be enjoyed.

Then, if you are like me, hide your grimaced face and keep your mouth shut when they dive into those Spider-Man snacks because “sometimes foods” are absolutely okay sometimes.

Seidenberg is the co-founder of Nourish Schools, a D.C.-based nutrition education company.

Is Bribing a Worthwhile Teaching Method?

December 15, 2011

I am not a fan of bribing. Even though such a practice usually has some positive effects, I think the students can see right through it. It paints the teacher as desperate and devalues skills that should be developed without the incentive offered.

In 1995, the classroom drama Dangerous Minds became a box-office hit. It depicted a former marine played by Michelle Pfeiffer struggling to control a class full of stereotypical lower class misfits. Her plan, neither ingenious nor responsible was to bribe them. Some may have left the cinema hailing her as a genius. I thought it was lazy scriptwriting and left us with no realistic answers for our own classroom management issues.

A recent study seems to come to a different conclusion on the bribing issue:

If your preschoolers turn up their noses at carrots or celery, a small reward like a sticker for taking even a taste may help get them to eat previously shunned foods, a UK study said.

Though it might seem obvious that a reward could tempt young children to eat their vegetables, the idea is actually controversial, researchers wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

That’s because some studies have shown that rewards can backfire and cause children to lose interest in foods they already liked, said Jane Wardle, a researcher at University College London who worked on the study.

Verbal praise, such as “Brilliant! You’re a great vegetable taster,” did not work as well.

“We would recommend that parents consider using small non-food rewards, given daily for tasting tiny pieces of the food — smaller than half a little finger nail,” Wardle said in an email.

The study found that when parents gave their three- and four-year-olds a sticker each time they took a “tiny taste” of a disliked vegetable, it gradually changed the children’s attitudes.

Over a couple of weeks, children rewarded this way were giving higher ratings to vegetables, with the foods moving up the scale from between 1 and 2 — somewhere between “yucky” and “just okay” — to between 2 and 3, or “just okay” and “yummy.”

The children were also willing to eat more of the vegetables — either carrots, celery, cucumber, red pepper, cabbage or sugar snap peas — in laboratory taste tests, the study said.

Surely such bribes can’t work in the long-term. Stickers become boring, star charts get tired, lollies are hardly responsible rewards and prizes are expensive.

If the only way to get a child to do what they should be doing anyway is to bribe them, have you really done your job properly?


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