It was my intention to continue with a series on Diabetes but in the last 24hrs I came across a couple of posts / comments on social media sites that I wanted to address.
It is not always appropriate to give my personal opinion on other peoples Facebook pages but I do believe that somehow we need to get the message out there that what we feed our children not only affects their current health , but has a long term impact on their future health. Hence this opinion piece.
So often I see fat unhealthy parents buying trolley loads of CRAP for their offspring. Some of the kids are still slim but many of them are running around the stores so hyped on chemicals and sugar that their parents have no idea how to control them. Many of these same parents have actually expressed their discontent with either their weight or some health issue that they themselves are experiencing and yet don’t make better choices for their kids ?
We currently have a local Easter market on the go in our small town. Now my interpretation of ” Easter market ” is simply a market that happens around Easter time. Easter has different meaning to different people. For many it is a deeply religious time and for others, it is nothing but an over indulgence in sugar , corn syrup and chemical disguised in the shape of chocolate eggs but I am not here to debate what this time of year means for various folk.
On one of the local social media sites , somebody complained that she was “ expecting a fairly good range of Easter eggs and not one was seen in sight. The only Easter themed goods I saw was 3/4 packets for kids. I asked one lady about Easter eggs and I was given such attitude! “
The Easter market is full of good quality craft work and in my opinion , a pleasant outing. The shops are loaded with aisles of rubbish for kids to eat at Easter – surely it’s refreshing to go somewhere that does not concentrate on flogging junk foods to youngsters ? Evidently not ! This parent could not see anything positive about this event simply because there were no Easter eggs on sale to fuel her tribes sugar addiction.
Hours later somebody else shared a post advertising pre packed lunch boxes for school children. Month packs ! Right away you can be sure this is a preservative packed sugar laden scenario . No fresh food is going to last the month out the freezer right ?
These handy little packs offer a fruit juice and a selection of non-perishable items containing a mix of products like biltong ( a popular dried meat snack in South Africa ) health bars, omega rich biscuits, rice cakes, dried corn, fruit and nuts .
Obscenely they advertise the benefits of these packs by including a blurb about the nutritional value of the CRAP !
- Carbohydrate (dried fruit, rice cakes, biscuits)
- Protein (biltong, droëwors, nuts)
- Healthy fats (omega-3 & omega-6 rich biscuits, nuts)
- Essential minerals and vitamins
- High fibre (dried fruit, oatmeal cookies)
Lets take a better look at this !
Fruit juice is nothing more than a sugar loaded liquid. Read the label .100% fruit juice is really misleading ! Fruit juices that are aseptically packed are pasteurized to preserve them. The heat processing destroys the enzymes that are naturally found in the fruit, which can cause the juice to spoil and discolour and also kills any spoilage micro-organisms and pathogens that may be found in fruit. These products will typically have a shelf life of 12 months. Worse still, the fibre that would normally be found in a whole fruit is missing ! This fibre plays an essential role in lowering the effect of the fructose from the fruit on the blood sugar. So drinking the juice just loads the body with the toxin without the antidote so to speak.
If we look at the actually sugar content you will see 22g per 200mls .Effectively that’s 4 tsp of sugar!
Heat-sensitive nutrients such as vitamin C and the B vitamins may be partially destroyed during the heat treatment used to preserve the fruit juice, but these nutrients are legally allowed to be restored to the product, as long as they are correctly labelled. The benefit of microbiologically safe fruit juice, that is the purpose of the heat treatment, outweighs the partial loss of some of the vitamins. How many essential vitamins do you really think end up in this juice ? Seriously !
Lets take a look at the health bars ! What in them is healthy ? Have you ever actually checked the labels ? I had a look at some of the popular brands in the local supermarket today and certainly did not see any healthy options among them. Aside from being sugar loaded ( what isn’t ) the list of additives is frightening. Take a look !
The list of handy lunch box ingredients continues with dried corn which also comes with an interesting list of ingredients : Maize, Refined Vegetable Oil with Antioxidants, Salt, Maize Flour, Acidifying Agents (E262, E330), Sugar, Maltodectrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Vegetable powder, herbs & spices, extracts of herbs & spices, permitted colourants, Vegetable Oil, Fruit Powder, Anti-caking Agent (E551), Non-nutritive sweetener, Permitted Flavourants, Dextrose,Flavour enhancer (nucleotides) E631, E627
Dried fruit preserved with sulphur dioxide ( Sulphur dioxide is widely used in the food and drinks industries for its properties as a preservative and antioxidant. Whilst harmless to healthy persons when used in recommended concentrations, it can induce asthma when inhaled or ingested by sensitive subjects, even in high dilution.)
Aside from the preservative the sugar content in 100g of dried Mango for example is 74g ! Even 20g of fruit is another whopping 15g of sugar . Maybe little Suzie won’t be eating that much dried fruit in a day but it’s only loading more sugar into an already sugar laden lunch box !
Rice cakes have just about zero nutritional benefit and as for omega rich biscuits ? I will put money on these biscuits being not only sugar filled but made with inflammatory seed oils. For more info on how vegetable oils are processed , Have a look here . Toxic vegetable oils
YOU ARE KILLING YOUR CHILD WITH THE RUBBISH YOU FEED THEM !
‘We have blessed our children with a shorter lifespan than their parents because of the landscape of food we have built around them .” Jamie Oliver
I highly recommend that ALL parents watch this TED talk .
So what is the answer ? I see little point in being euphamistic – Get off your lazy butts and start making an effort with your children’s nutrition ! Information is everywhere . There is very little excuse for turning a blind eye. There is no excuse for not feeding your child fresh home cooked foods. There is no excuse for filling their school lunch boxes with CRAP ! There is no excuse for encouraging or perpetuating a sugar addiction. There is no excuse for leaving your children a legacy of lifestyle disease !
Almost every day I hear a parent say ” my child refuses ” or ” I can’t get my child to eat ” or ” my child loves his sugar ” . WHO IS THE PARENT ? and what do you think your responsibility is as the parent ?
So here are a few tips for a healthy school lunch .
- Healthy food is not negotiable. No healthy child has ever starved in a household with abundant food – when your child gets hungry enough , he / she will eat the food you offer. BE THE PARENT !
- Keep food colourful and exciting in small coloured containers
- engage your child in making choices for his/her own lunch box
- prepare foods before hand so packing lunch boxes before school is quick and easy.
- teach your child to quench their thirst with WATER !
- Do not provide money for the tuck shop
- if your child complies all week add a treat on Fridays ( low carb chocolate brownie for example ) pinterest has abundant recipes and ideas.
- foods for lunch boxes include –
chicken wings or drummies
mini meat balls
small blocks of cheese
mini salami sticks
cold meats ( not processed )
small amounts of biltong or dry wors
vegetable sticks ( cucumber , carrot , celery )
Full fat cream cheese dip for veg
grain free crackers with nut butter
slices of fresh fruit.
for more tips and trick – have a look at this great site !
You are obliged to feed your child a wholesome and nutritious diet that ensures he or she does not become a statistic of lifestyle disease ! Anything less is child abuse.