Nutrition - Teaching our Children to Eat Well

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Nutrition - Teaching our Children to Eat Well

When I look back at my experience through elementary and secondary school, and think about school lunch my memories are not cherished. The gray messy masses that smell and jiggle in a nebulous blob while the lunch lady deposits it onto my tray. No, those were not fond memories at all. I do remember having to look at the month ahead with my mother, because she wanted me to eat at least eat one school prepared meal a week. These were tough decisions for an elementary student, with picky taste in food. I remember most of the students in my class eating the chocolate cake or the cookies as the main course of their meal. Now that I look back on this, I realize how foolish it was that teachers did not pay better attention to our diets.

American's "sweet tooth is tied to sour health" according to Jane Brody of The New York Times. We are "squeezing out nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that can help to prevent disease." A nutritionally complete diet should involve no more than ten percent of its calories from added sugar; "American children now consume nearly twice that amount. The average teenager derives 19 percent of calories from added sugar, with the average boy consuming 34 teaspoons and the average girl consuming 24 teaspoons of added sugar daily, according to Federal surveys. Younger children, too, have diets far sweeter than desirable: 6- to 11-year-olds get 18 percent of their calories from added sugars" (Brody, 7). Yikes, these numbers do not look good when trying to promote nutrition, but how does one teach children to eat things like vegetables?

Some children do not like to eat the vegetables that are given to them because they are not quite sure what is in the mushroom surprise. A lot of children just do not like school lunches, while others really enjoy them. Some may think that they are fattening, rubber in them, too greasy and unhealthy. While others find them more convenient, taking some chaos out of their morning routine, since they do not need to pack a lunch, or worry about what to eat. Nancy Polk, for the New York Times, wrote why in the past 5 years, the regulations for the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children needed to be put in effect. This drastically changed the way we feed American youth. They specifically looked at makin...

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...bits for life. Life-long learning and health have been proven to go hand in hand, teaching our children to eat well is just as important as teaching them to read. This might be the key to unlocking a whole new power. A power for learning. A power that will someday set the standard for the world in which we live.


Brody, Jane. "Increasingly, America's Sweet Tooth Is Tied to Sour Health." New York Times. New York. September 21, 1999.

Friedman, BJ. "Nutrient Intake of Children Eating School Breakfast." American Dietetic Association. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Chicago. February 1999.

Gottlieb, Robert. "The State: In Reforming Schools, Don't Forget Students' Stomachs." The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. California. December 27, 1998.

"Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating." Journal of School Health. Washington D.C. January 1997, Vol. 67, No. 1.

"Healthy School Meals…Healthy Kids! A Leadership Guide for School Decision-Makers." Food and Consumer Service (USDA). Washington D.C. 1997.

Polk, Nancy. "Better School Lunches, Fitter Children." New York Times. New York. February 21, 1999.
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