You don’t need a percentage or statistic to know that America is fat, just go to the mall or a restaurant to see all the proof you need. The proof is in the pudding — pun intended. What is the solution? The government has tried their way which landed us with the food pyramid or “my plate” as it is now called, that lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Of course we can choose to ignore these guidelines and eat however we want, whether that is better or worse is up to the individual, but the food pyramid/my plate still controls what our children learn and eat in school. Not only what our children are learning school, but what our dietitians and nutritionist learn in school.
I started at Purdue as a Dietetics and Nutrition, Fitness, & Health major– I wanted to save the world from obesity through education. My plan was to become a Registered Dietitian and do seminars and educational programs to do my part in healing this country. My first class was taught by a woman who was obese herself, she couldn’t stand during the class because she was recovering from hip replacement surgery. Nothing against her, but it took away part of the hope I had for the next four years of education. Another class during that first semester taught us about My Food Pyramid, gloating about how Purdue had been a part of the process of it’s creation. Sad face. Sad face. Sad face. From experimentation of the Adkins diet in high school, I understood the benefit of the higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet than what was being recommended and I only saw things going downhill from there. Between that and the 8 semesters of chemistry ahead of me, college was looking pretty glum.
I changed majors second semester and decided to become a teacher, after all, I was becoming a Registered Dietitian in order to teach! I am glad I made the switch, I learned a lot and my perception of true health wasn’t tainted by four years of low fat, high carb preaching. Now, after three years of teaching and learning about how people learn, I’d like to apply that to my true passion for teaching nutrition education. This is truly the only way to combat obesity in this country. How did we improve the literacy rate? By teaching kids how to read and write. How will we increase the wellness rate in this country? By teaching kids how to treat their bodies in a way that prevents illness and disease: NUTRITION and FITNESS.
5 Ways to Teach Kids about Nutrition and Fitness
- Lead by example. Always.
- Talk about WHY you are making the choices you are: “I’m going to eat strawberries for dessert instead of the brownie because the brownie is full of sugar and flour and it will not make me feel good after I eat it.” How often do your kids as you why? Wouldn’t they be shocked if you started giving them an earful like this!
- Emphasis how food makes you FEEL and what it allows you to DO, not how it makes you look. Say “Mommy is having a salad because it the nutrients in the vegetables and the protein in the chicken make me feel really good and keep me healthy.” Not “Mommy is having a salad because she is trying to lose 10 pounds.”
- Make the choice easy. As humans, we don’t get our executive thinking skills that allows us to think through decisions until we are 25. How do you expect your 8 year old to make the right choice between Doritos and grapes when both options are right there? Leave the Doritos at the store, make the choice easy for both of you.
- Don’t completely cut bad stuff out of their life, but use it as a learning experience, not a reward. Teach them how to savor food and really enjoy it.
I will continue to write on this subject in the future, as it is never far from my mind. I will also continue to plan and create seminars and educational programs, as I am looking for ways to expand No BS Nutrition and Fitness. Your ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As my career as a public school teacher ends, I am really looking forward to this new chapter of motherhood and entrepreneurship, I can use all the help I can get!