Nutrition education is failing our children – it’s time to get our hands dirty place

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Tell me and I will forget.

Show me and I remember.

Involve me and I will understand.

~ Chinese proverb

Recent studies have shown that nutrition education is not working! It is ineffective in creating behavior change to get our kids to eat more vegetables. So much time, money and energy has been spent in our schools to teach kids nutrition and we have got nowhere.

Pyramid is part of the problem. Why are we wasting time to teach our children to government approval official word on nutrition just do not care?

In addition to being sensual, USDA Food Pyramid is full of conflicts of interest to the food industry, meat and dairy lobby. If we want our kids to really learn something besides being able to throw facts and figures for the test, we need those involved at a deeper level.

Much of what we have been told about nutrition has been misleading and has done more harm than good. This has led successful nutrition labeling committees to focus on information rather than looking at the big picture.

  • counting calories results in many obsessing over calories, some extreme eating disorders and yo-yo dieting. This flawed the focus on energy balance has resulted in the food industry to create “100 calorie” products. After all, 100 calories of junk is still junk! It reminds me of “light” cigarettes mom smoked in the early 70’s instead quit tobacco altogether. Focusing on calories takes us from Quality, all calories are not equal.
  • believe that fat makes you fat has swept many low-fat foods that are higher in sugar and chemicals. Good fat is necessary for the brain and central nervous system development. Many foods have fat there for the best absorption of nutrients. That is why the salad dressing needs to have fat in it. Once again, we must consider the good fats and oils and work to stay away from the poor fat quality.
  • A misguided focus on nutrients has resulted in useless products like granola bars and promote whole grains that are nothing more than refined grains sprayed down with synthetic vitamins.

Loading a school cafeterias our 100 calorie packs, baked chips, granola bars, baked chicken fingers and oven roasted Tater Tots which many consider to be “healthy” fare not create more Food IQ for our children, nor does it make them healthier.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” ~ Albert Einstein

Clearly when it comes to for nutrition education and health of our children, we need a new approach. I suggest that we shift the emphasis from the nutrition and instead toward the four-letter word that starts with F: Food! To build our Food IQ correctly, we have to get our hands dirty and experience all that food has to offer

We need to plant gardens everywhere :. In schools, childcare centers, summer camps, senior centers, and in our communities. I’m excited to grass roots advocates many schools have followed the leadership of First Lady Obama in planting gardens in schools. Gardens involve and teach us about the food and the world on many levels.

  • As they grow food, eat food kids! Gardens are a great solution to the epidemic picky eating behavior. Studies show that children who have been associated with growing food eat more vegetables than young children who attend other schools and preschool child without garden applications.
  • You can not grow junk food! There are no artificial ingredients or significant allergens (gluten, dairy, soy) in a garden. You simply can not become sick or obese eat what grows in the garden.
  • Growing food culture of environmental awareness help our children to become stewards of the land. As concerns about climate change and peak oil continues to grow, we may all need to become more involved with growing food.
  • Gardens doctors nature deficit disorder. Keep our children away from screens and high tech for a while is helpful. The garden helps us slow down; you can not eat green beans to grow fast, you have to wait! This is an important antidote to the fast pace of our lives.
  • With gas prices soaring and food after skyward, growing food makes more sense than ever for our wallets as well as our waistlines.

I am now hopeful that the gardens will be the beginning of a positive impact on the food culture in the school district is. By cultivating the garden project based Food IQ and ecoliteracy, perhaps cafeterias shifted further towards health supportive food that is better for our children and for the environment. For example, when people understand the environmental impact of New York high school students eat apples come all the way from Washington state (or more) vs. apples that come from farms in upstate NY, students might require local source of food. This roundabout way affect the cafeteria will help create demand for fresh, local, real food, instead of low calorie fat questionable foods.

It’s going to be great to get our hands dirty and get growing. Mother Earth will be grateful as well.

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