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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

simplify, my dear

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This morning, a debate was started on a friend's facebook page in regards to childhood obesity.  It all started due to the dear, misinformed, crazy lady who goes by the name of Sarah.  That's right, Sarah Palin.  She apparently showed up to a school in Pennsylvania, toting a tray of chocolate chip cookies to make a point that the government should not be trying to dictate what our children eat.  Whatever.  I'm grateful for school lunch on the days that I don't have time` energy desire to pack for my son.  However, I do resent that his teacher dictates what we can send for snacks, but that's aside from my main argument here.

One woman involved in this discussion had a very good point that the current trend of overscheduling children in regards to sports, dance lessons, music lessons, language lessons, tutoring, etc, etc, etc, is aiding to the rising obesity rates of American youth.  After some thought, I must agree with her.  However, others were quick to point out that no one is making the mothers stop at McDonald's on the way home from practice.

This is true.  While no one is making you stop beneath the golden arches on the way home from activities, even convenience foods that you can fix ahead and take along are often times some of the worst things that we can feed our kids. I'm willing to bet that most of the moms who try to avoid the fast food lane with pack-ahead snacks still reach for he over-processed, prepackaged junk rather than cutting up some carrot and celery sticks or baking from scratch. Even the prepackaged apples, carrots, and celery that you can buy at the grocery store, and that health food nuts advocate for moms in a rush, are coated with chemicals and/or preservatives in order to make the food remain appealing after being cut so long ago.

Additionally, if kids are eating in the car or on the run, they are developing a rushed mentality about food. Eating on the go is also proven to lead to higher rates of obesity. Slow down and eat together at the table to curb your children's overeating.

Furthermore, many parents resort to stopping at a fast food chain to hit up their dollar menu because they feel that they cannot afford to purchase the healthy foods for their children.  I can totally understand this.  Buying organic and whole grain and the such is very expensive.  But, why must you continue to purchase the foods at all?  What did mothers do before they could buy 101 varieties of bread in the store?  They baked it, for much less money than we can buy a loaf today.  What did they do before they could purchase cheez-its or animal crackers or high-fructose free cookie dough or whatever else we fill our carts with each week?  They either made their own snacks, or they did without.  Or, gasp! They ate whole fruits and vegetables.  If we aren't purchasing so much crap, we can afford to purchase some good stuff, too.  If we're baking our snacks, we're less likely to just toss a handful into our mouth, because that's twenty or so crackers that we cut out by hand.

Of course, many moms say they don't have the time to make things from scratch because they are so busy living a hectic and varied life. Well, ladies... there's an alternative.  The best thing that we can do for our kids and ourselves is to begin to live more simply. Quit over-scheduling and allow your children to go out and play. Let them use their imaginations. Give them time to breathe. In the meantime, use all that time you would have spent in the car or sitting at practices to actually cook healthy meals for your family. Bake from scratch, shun convenience foods that are overly processed and overpriced. Get back to gardening and raising your own food, which will help your children develop important life skills (if you require them to help as well). Above all, quit babying kids and trying to make them more "well-rounded" because it is having a serious effect on their social, mental, and physical well-being. You want to cure obesity? Let's get back to the basics in caring for our families and ourselves.


** I do want to note that, while I firmly stand behind this argument, I am in no way the perfect mother.  Parenting is hard work and there are days when I can't fathom the idea of doing anything more than what is necessary to get by.  We eat processed foods.  I don't bake all of our bread and things, yet.  And, I don't have all the answers.  But, I do absolutely believe that simplification and a return to the old ways would solve many of our present problems, including obesity.  So, there.


  1. I cuncur! working my way to being less lazy...LMAO

  2. Excellent post! The past year I've been on a journey to cut out eating out and pre-packaged convenience foods from our lives. Now I'm baking and cooking a lot from scratch and we're eating so much better-our main snack is fresh fruit and veggies now :) It DOES take time to cook and bake, but I MAKE the time-cutting out a bit of tv or online browsing frees up enough time to get the bread maker or oven going :)
    sara www.myfrugalfunlife.com

  3. I like this post a lot. I know that I can provide better for my child than my parents did. My overweight issues stem from prossessed foods and no real exercise. I want to make sure that my kid has the opportunity to eat healthy, but without breaking the bank.

  4. Loved this post! I don't have kids, but even I notice how my eating habits get worse the more overwhelmed I feel--and I am only taking care of myself and a husband. And yet during that day I'd find time for some substantial facebook browsing, web reading, etc. I was thinking, just the other day when I was chowing on Wheat Thins before dinner (with Cheese) that in another lifetime, that WOULD have been dinner. Maybe not necessarily crackers, but a starch and a dairy protein. And yet I marched on and had dinner anyway. I think our ideas of what constitutes "meals" needs to change. Our rush through the eating process needs to change. And its true--if you make your own food/snacks, it does tend to last longer. Especially things that were a lot of work!


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