Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Kids Are All Right!

On a recent trip to Santa Barbara to visit my sister, I was thoroughly surprised and delighted to see how well my niece (aged 6) and nephew (aged 5) were eating. Every time they went into the fridge for a snack, they would choose ripe plump berries, oatmeal bars, string cheese, edamame or other fortifying bites. Upon dining with them at an Italian restaurant they chose shrimp and salads. I was thrilled to see my sister teaching them about food in good ways, and introducing their young taste buds to healthy things. I was further delighted later on, while at a party full of children, to notice the kids all eating the miniature beef sliders piled with grilled onions and whole ears of barbecued corn, rather than the tubs of chips that sat largely untouched. One of the parents, my friend Justine, told us that she has taught her kids to yell "Disgusting!" every time they see the golden arches of McDonalds. After spending a good deal of time this past year keeping tabs on superstar Chef Jamie Oliver as he has tried to infiltrate the American school cafeteria system to introduce healthy foods into the daily regimens of loved ones, I realized that eating well starts in the home and then trickles out into society. Nothing will change in the school cafeterias until the premature audiences that stock the lunch lines in their pigtails and scuffed up knees come to demand a higher quality of food. Parents today should feel personally responsible for stocking their cupboards wisely, teaching their kids how to make simple snacks and meals out of nutritious ingredients instead of relying on the prepackaged microwaveable meals that reek of convenience and complacency. When kids are taught to love a colorful bevy of fresh fruits and finger vegetable snacks, they come to rely on that as their sense of sweetness rather than candy and a mouth does not mature craving toxic sugars and overloaded fats. It's time for us all to think about the next generation of foodies, and to inspire, motivate, and create a natural tendency towards health and sustainability in the minds of the young.

No comments:

Post a Comment