July 19th, 2011

National Junk Food Day is July 21

The Patch

Did you know that July 21st is National Junk Food Day? National Junk Food Day—like we need a day to honor junk food.

Maybe we need to use it to remind us that childhood obesity is at an all-time high.  Just typing in “childhood obesity” in the Google search box gives you more choices than you can believe for information and resources.  The CDC website has states that “obesity now affects 71% of all children and adolescents in the United States--triple the rate from just one generation ago.” How ridiculous is this?  And there are correlations between obesity and diabetes.

Part of the problem is that we are a society that is constantly on the go.  We are so busy, busy, busy.  I remember as a child that a weekly treat was getting Krystal’s on the way to or from dance class with my mom.  Now it is common for folks to eat fast food once or even twice a day.

It isn’t always easy, but we have to make certain that our children have healthy snacks and meals.  And it’s much easier if they actually enjoy them.  It starts from early childhood.  We have always treated fruit and veggies like yummy snacks for Lilliana.  Yes, of course, sadly there is some junk in there, but since the beginning we have kept plain Cheerios a part of her diet, and she still loves them.  She loves apple sauce, so I carry those little packets of pure apple sauce around with me.  No added sugar and no high fructose corn syrup is a pretty healthy snack on the go.  Just unscrew the lid, let them suck it out, no mess, and toss it when they’re done.  If they don’t love apple sauce, but they are starving on the go, maybe they’ll like the cinnamon applesauce or strawberry applesauce.  She loves plain, raw baby carrots as a snack, too.  She loves popcorn.  I have always encouraged snacks like this and tried to limit the junky ones.  Also, juice is a source of lots of sugar.  We have always cut Lilliana’s juice with water by half.  She’s used to it.  She rarely gets pure juice.

For your super picky eaters who refuse to eat veggies, there’s a cookbook out there that I know you’ve heard rumors of where she hides the veggies in the food.  It’s called “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals,” and it’s a New York Times Bestseller.  There are over 75 proven recipes and she even has a website called the Sneaky Chef where you can ask questions and have them answered.  It’s very popular.  She’s got several books out, one called “Sneaky Fitness” that’s about sneaking fitness into your child’s everyday life.

Michelle Obama has launched her “nationwide campaign to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.” You can join her through the CDC website or here.

Regardless of what steps you take, it’s apparent that we must all do something.  Childhood obesity and diabetes is growing at an incredible rate, and it is up to us to turn the tide.  For us to help our children, we must take steps to change our lifestyles, as well.  Keep healthier snacks around and more accessible, eat less healthy snacks in moderation, and become more active.  Our children learn from our example.  “Learn from what I say and not what I do” has never worked, and it never will.  WE must be the catalyst for the next generation to change.

Read more: http://snellville.patch.com/articles/national-junk-food-day-is-july-21

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