|Photo: Today Online/ Reuters|
Young children eating junk.
It breaks my heart really.
A two year old screaming to go to Mcdonalds makes me want to rush to the nearest government office and insist they ban your children from entering fast food chains. Kick up a fuss, or cry, or both.
I teach so I come into contact with young children daily and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet parents who are more or less particular about what goes into their children’s bodies. I have met parents who insist only on organic, wholesome food but most have lost control of what their children eat by the time the kids reach 8. It is often so much easier to allow the child to eat sugary cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner than fight to get a mouthful of broccoli in that would end up on the floor anyway. ‘At least the child is eating something’, you reason, resigned.
By that time, the child would have grown up with severely altered tastebuds. Salt, sugar and fat are really like drugs. Sugar especially, because the body recognizes it as a quick source of energy but it’s so nutritionally empty and spikes the insulin levels so high that it just makes one crave even more sugary products after the initial high, resulting in a terribly vicious cycle.
Obesity is climbing in Singapore and our young children are suffering for it. In 2011, 11% of school going children were overweight. And we aren’t talking about your cute, chubby ‘oh, he’ll out grow it’ kind of overweight. We are talking about an increase in type II diabetes in children, heart diseases, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis.
Do you often worry that your child is distracted in school, or low in energy or just can’t seem to focus? They are easily irritable, upset and grumpy for no apparent reason? Then perhaps it’s time to check out their diet. Deficiencies in B vitamins, zinc,
iron and proteins have been associated with the incidence of aggressive
behavior. This can make them violent, or antisocial. Because junk food is addictive, regular consumption of it may lead to addictive behaviours. Poor nutrition also contributes to learning disabilities and hyperactivity such as ADHD and ADD.
The thing about young children being obese that really gets my goat is that is I cannot shake off the fact that it’s purely environmental. The reason why these young kids are struggling with the possibility of serious diseases in future as well as low self esteem and bullying, is purely due to Adults.
Adults who are supposed to know better, to protect them and guide them but instead have derailed off somewhere, somehow.
We think they would outgrow it, or it’s alright for a young one to be chubby. Better chubby than stick skinny, some would say. I’ve also heard of doctors recommending ice cream and sweets as a ‘bulk up’ diet for skinny children.
Does no one else think this is terribly strange?
This is not to say that if you have an obese child, you have failed as a parent/ guardian.
Far from it, I understand how some parents want to show love through food. In a time as this when children are constantly glued to their electronic gadgets, you feel that the only time there is any sort of family bonding going on is when you make junior’s favourite food- and the more flavourful, the better. There is just something about how for that moment, when you let junior eat mcdonalds and his eyes light up all shiny and bright. (Try doing that with a bowl of broccoli). And I also understand how difficult it is to get them to eat sometimes despite your best efforts and intentions.
But we do children a disservice when we don’t educate them and fuel them with the right nutrition. If you don’t believe in baby-talking to a baby, then we certainly shouldn’t believe that all they are capable of eating are chicken nuggets, fries and other assorted finger food only. Are we even aware of how many chemicals are in store bought chicken nuggets or hot dogs? I LOVE CHICKEN NUGGETS. And I used to eat like 10 a day, seriously. From Mcdonalds. Then i watched this video.. and it really got me thinking of how clueless I am about what’s inside my food that comes from a box from the supermarket or that’s been prepared and mass produced.
Well, to be fair, this was in the 1960s when companies were trying to squeeze out every last bit of profit and were determined to use the meat from eyeballs and necks and whatnots. Fast food companies may be using “whole chicken meat” now but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with a whole load of salt and preservatives etc.
And this is what we regularly feed our children.
So I decided to take a little saunter to my friendly supermarket and check out the nugget offerings there. I know nuggets are a huge hit at children parties and who can resist one of those little salty bite sized gems.
Sounds pretty good! No preservatives!
Now what do we have here? Soy protein? Modified starch? Hydrolized vegetable protein? What’s that?
This brand says it’s the ‘finest white meat’! Sounds good!
Not going to say anything more about them! (I’m not sure if anything I say will end up being construed as slander so I’m just going to put this up as general information 🙂 )
Your kids are precious! Give them the greatest nutrition for their caloric buck!
Homemade Chicken nuggets can be really yummy! Check out the recipe here: Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets. Perfect for little hands and great for their tummies and health too! 🙂
Do you make your own version of fast food that your kid loves? Share with us the recipe! Or do you have tips to share or recommendations for child friendly restaurants that serve wholesome food on their kids menu?
Consequences of Childhood Obesity