Instant Recipes for Childhood Obesity: Nuggets and Chocolate Formula
This week, and increasingly, America's children were on my mind. It is no secret that the childhood obesity rate has tripled in the last 30 years. The problem has become so widespread and urgent that senior and retired military leaders deemed it a threat to national security.
Rectifying this problem is simple: modify children's diets to include more whole foods and fewer processed foods. Increase exercise.
Yet implementing this solution has proven difficult, complex, and beyond our reach. This week Consumer Reports released a report about chicken nuggets. It found that there is no such thing as a healthy nugget. Despite claims like "organic," "whole grain," and "all natural," the report reveals that the highly processed foods are loaded with unnecessary fat and sodium.
This shouldn't be a shocking finding, but somehow it is. Here is the lesson to take away: the more processed a food is, the less it is likely to be healthy. As a rule, dinners that go straight from the freezer to the oven and the table are not the most nutritious. But healthy doesn't have to be laborious. If your kids love chicken, sprinkle a chicken breast with Pecorino Romano. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Done. Low sodium, low fat, low calories.
As parents, we need to help children learn about and live a healthy lifestyle, and this begins at birth. In February, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company introduced vanilla and chocolate flavored infant formula. This product provides a shocking insight into our dietary habits and the products that are made available to us. Unfortunately, this product will probably sell very well. After all, it is tasty. It will make feeding children easier. Children will drink more than they need. The result is obvious: it will prepare our children for a life of fried oreos, chocolate chip pancakes, and burgers and fries.
The good things in life always take a little more thought, a little more care, and a little more work. Think about your child's diet. Don't take the easy way out. Prepare fresh, wholesome foods. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it will take effort. You know what? Avoiding a lifetime of health complications is worth it. There are few gifts as great as good health. Give it to your child.
Photo by Scott Liddell