Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's on Your Child's Lunch Plate: Childhood Obesity

I have a toddler. He is extremely picky. I also have a baby. So between the two our lunches have to be 1) somewhat nutritious 2) something the toddler will eat and 3) something that I can fix in about 15 minutes. It's a tall order. So far our lunches have been boring. I'm getting tired of the frozen food and sandwiches. Maybe you are also facing this problem. Maybe you've got a few tricks up your sleeve. Maybe we can help each other. I figure on every Tuesday I will feature what he ate. Maybe it will be whole bunch of pictures. Maybe it will be only one. And then I'll tell you (or if it's not too disgusting show you) what and how much of it he ate. I need your help. Please comment or upload something. I'm desperate. 

This was Tuesday's lunch.  I realize that it is technically Wednesday, but we've had a bout of illness in the house.  And I being sleep deprived didn't bother typing anything.  If you can't tell, he had a half a Turkey sandwich, a pat of blueberry yogurt, and a bit of watermelon.  He barely ate the bread of the sandwich.  This was to be expected since the night before HB developed a fever and so he lost his appetite complete.  Today he is normal and eating his normal amounts of food.

Childhood Obesity:  Genetic or Environmental 

Unless you've been hiding under a rock (okay maybe didn't have access to a newspaper), Michelle Obama's platform (the thing that all 1st Ladies take up) has been childhood obesity.

While some metabolic disorders and medications, do contribute to the obesity epidemic, environmental factors are the main cause.  Environmental meaning your overall calorie intake and your overall calorie outtake.

Because today's foods are stuffed with calories and children prefer to sit in front of the tv (or maybe their helicopter parents prefer it) instead of gallivanting around town like our forebearers of yesteryear, children are reaching larger and larger proportions every year to their detriment.

It doesn't help that advertisers (and my mother) bombard children with images and slogans for faty, high calorie fast food (can you say, Happy Meal, mom?).  They often use the "whine factor" to measure their effectiveness.  The whine factor being how much whining a child will do before giving up because studies show it doesn't take much whining for parents to cave.

Not only that, but convenience foods also contain huge amounts of calories.  Lets face it.  It's way faster for parents to grab a bag of frozen whatever or boil some mac n' cheese than to spend the 30-60 minutes to sling together a meal.  Parents who are themselves obese also have a hard time modeling good eating habits.

Then there's the output of calories.  Used to, kids had P.E. or recess of some kind.  But with heavy budget cuts, children spend more time locked into a desk.  Then they go home, where parents trained in "stranger danger" and freak out over kidnapping hardly let them roam the back yard by themselves.

I'm waiting for one of my neighbors to notice that my 2 year old sometimes plays on my gated/walled porch by himself.  Gasp!  Someone will kidnap him.  How irresponsible of me!?  But maybe I shouldn't take him in our car either since the odds of him getting mangled in a car accident are significantly higher than being kidnapped.  Granted he's two.  He could break an arm instead.  Studies actually show that children who have broken a limb tend to have stronger bones in that area.  Not that I'm saying to go break your child's arm.  I'm just saying it's not that bad.  I knew a lady whose two year old got knocked over by the dog and got badly hurt (half body cast).  It's just that it happens no matter what you do.

Or conversely, the child prefers to glue himself to the tv.  I know.  I'm one to talk.  My child isn't big into playing with his toys as much as he prefers Pingu or Backyardigans.  But on consistently hot days it's hard to find things for him to do that don't involve computers or last more than 5 minutes.  It's a work in progress.

My point is that as parents it is our responsibility to take care of the health of our children and model good eating habits, which is the whole point of this series.  I'm trying to come up with good food that my child will eat that doesn't involve chicken nuggets (or Happy Meals).

I'm also not saying no junk food ever (in fact studies show that this is actually bad for kids).  I'm just saying everything in moderation.

Next week:  Baby Led Weaning Tips for Children Under 9 months


  1. On the bread thing... my kids do that too. Some days they eat out the middle of the sandwich and ignore the bread, others they devour it to the point of sneaking into the pantry and taking it straight out of the bag. Eh... lol.

    And I hear ya on the heat... I'd worry more about how much tv/comp time mine get (don't get me wrong I do worry about it) except they manage to stay active despite it. It really is hard to get out and do things in this heat though.

  2. Have you tried fish sticks, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets, even boiled chicken breasts?

    I have an idea make chicken and rice. Put chicken in a 9X13" (or smaller if only using 4 thighs) baking dish salt and pepper and cover with water. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Remove chicken put in 1/2 to 1 stick margarine, 1 cup rice and salt and pepper into chicken broth in baking dish. Put chicken back on top of mixture and bake for another 30 minutes. You can heat some type of vegetable in the microwave to go with this.

    By the way your SAMS club card has been renewed, if you are looking for some frozen foods that he may eat once cooked.

    Your mother used to make your baby food...remember her.

  3. Hi, Mom? (wish you would just sign it that way or dad)...

    He doesn't eat meat unless it's smothered in something, but that all depends. Doesn't eat rice either. Doesn't eat veggies.

    While he likes fried foods like chicken nuggets and fish sticks, I'm trying to avoid that sort of thing since it's not healthy.

    And that's the point. Avoid frozen precooked food.

    As for the baby food...why would HB eat baby food? Knee doesn't eat baby food either. It's all whole foods.

    But thanks for the help. I'll probably make baked chicken and rice for dinner. I don't have time to do that sorta thing for lunch.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!