Saturday, January 19, 2013

Why Our Children's Life Expectancy is Lower than Ours

Our children's life expectancy is lower than ours, which is ALL OUR FAULTS. Yes, mine, too. Every negative food choice that goes into your child's mouth is your fault. Every positive food choice is your fault. You cannot blame it on trends, friends, or schools...your child is yours and you make his/her choices. Until s/he makes his/her own, and then what you taught them hopefully sticks...

I'm bringing this up following a trip to Home Town Buffet a couple of weeks ago. It has bothered me ever since. It started when I was in line to get chicken, where I was behind a mom helping her son fill his plate. Already on the plate was a pile of french fries and macaroni and cheese. In front of her were (overcooked) green beans and carrots, and what does she say? "Do you want some mashed potatoes or corn?" WOW. (By the way, in my book, corn is NOT a vegetable, nor is mashed potatoes!)

I don't know what ended up on his plate, but we ended up sitting at the table next to this family, who ended up being what appeared to be two parents, two grandparents, and two kids. The second kid sat closest to us, with the rest of the family to his other side. He may as well have been sitting at another table, because not one word was said to him during the meal. He was somewhere between 9 and 11 years old, I guess. When we sat down, he had a HUGE pile of mashed potatoes, and something long and fried, maybe cheese sticks. He then proceeded to make THREE trips to the dessert bar. I happened to glance over just in time to see him look down, grab underneath his belly, and jiggle it. No joke. He then got two icees. When it was time to go, he got up with the family and started to leave with the cup, halfway filled with icee. The first thing I heard anyone say to him was..."You can't take that cup, you have to leave it here."

The first kid I saw in line was skinny. But give him time. He will be supersize before you know it, I guarantee it, with the parenting that I saw of the larger child. At first I wondered, "Why would Hometown Buffet put french fries out when they know it's family night, where parents are going to bring in their kids, because they eat for $.99?" I quickly realized you can't blame the restaurants. But you CAN blame the parents. Maybe it's just me, but when we go to HTB, it's because we can all choose something different to eat, without getting fast food. I know the quality of food is definitely not as good as mine at home, but it's not as bad as fast food. It's a night off of cooking, not a time to load up on desserts and starches and fried crap.

The biggest problem is that parents are eating crap. And whether or not they expect their kids to eat better, if what a parent says doesn't match up with what a parent does, the lesson is lost. Put some veggies on your plates, parents. Limit junk and eating out. Give some choices, but make them healthy (and learn what healthy is!) And start early. The earlier you provide variety, the less likely you are to have a picky eater. Do it for your kids. Their life DOES depend on it!

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