What you feed your child actually matters and you should not have to watch an ABC special to know that. However, what does a good diet really do for a kid?
A study circulated the Web recently, from the Feb. 5 version of The Lancent, which stated that a change in diet might help children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here’s the NPR story.
Take out the preservatives and food dyes, introduce fresh foods, and children are able to stay focused. Imagine that.
Disclaimer: A better diet doesn’t help every child, and not every child with ADHD eats unhealthy food. But the study found “64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food.”
My boyfriend is a teacher and spends a lot of time opening Gogurts and watching what his elementary kids eat. At one school, he regularly sees a mom crack open a can of Mountain Dew and hand it to her son, who chugs it as he walks into the building.
Another girl eats a bag of mini-chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You saw the rest of the iceberg on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. (Or didn’t see it, I can’t remember what the ratings were.)
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, is sugar, fat, high fructose corn syrup, dyes and preservatives. And kids are expected to stay full and focused until lunch, when they get a sugary Capri Sun or chocolate milk and nitrate-filled hot dogs, then sent back to class.
Don’t read this thinking that I’m a health food junkie (Larry Groce’s 2011 comeback?). Dinner tonight was a frozen Boca burger and mac and cheese, with a Frostie for dessert. A Frostie with M&Ms in it.
I have given my kid undiluted fruit juice, candy, he even had his first hot dog last week. He loved it. I died a little bit inside.
But what can we do? How can we fill our children with healthy foods in an area where everything seems to have some additive.
I was at my favorite retail store recently, when I bribed thought my son might like some popcorn from the popular food court. On the front of the popcorn popper was a sticker, telling me what food dyes were used to make the popcorn yellow. I thought it was yellow because of butter, or a butter alternative. I didn’t expect the alternative to be fake yellow coloring. That’s gross!
One of my favorite dishes, baked salmon, is such a vibrant pink because the dyes are added to it.
I need to do a better job making sure my child gets the right fuel to keep him strong and healthy. I’m not talking about organic peas here, I just think we should back off on the french fries — which pains me to say — and add in some spinach.
So, how do you do it? What are quick guilt-free foods that you and your family eat? How do you keep your kids from becoming the next statistic?