I volunteer at a local hospital once a week and eat my lunch in the staff lunchroom. I like to think of myself as a “fly on the wall,” while I’m there because the nurses and support staff talk amongst themselves and I like to stay quiet and just listen. I think of it as part of my Buddhist training which teaches — it’s better to listen than talk (I am paraphrasing here).
Yesterday’s conversation was especially interesting to me. One of the staff said that her nine-year old refuses to eat anything but chicken nuggets and Mac and Cheese (I noticed the mom in question was eating a large salad for her lunch though). She went on-and-on about what a picky eater this little girl is and how she couldn’t do anything about it, except give this girl what she wanted because for God sakes — she might starve!
It’s really hard for me to keep my big, opinionated mouth shut, but I managed — I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said though. Her attitude was that she did not have a say in the matter. She believed she was powerless. I wonder what the other staff were thinking? They didn’t say much. Was I the only one bothered by what I heard? I am glad I stayed quiet — but I had to write about it here. By the way, this is not the first time I heard a parent complain that their kid would not eat what was served at the family meal.
The best complaint I heard and this is the God’s honest truth,”Bobby wouldn’t eat the pizza we bought for him because it wasn’t ’round’!!!
My first question is this. When did parents stop acting like parents? When I was a kid in the 60s, my mom and dad told me what to do. I was not given a vote and I certainly could not dictate what I was willing to eat. If I didn’t eat what was on my plate, I went hungry until the next meal. My mom was the worst cook on the planet! She was the Queen of canned or boxed foods. She would heat stuff up and throw it on a plate. Our mashed potatoes even came from a box!
She did cook up liver though and I remember soaking each piece in ketchup to cover the taste. I will admit I did stuff some pieces in my pants and flush them down the toilet later– BUT to tell her I would only eat certain foods?! Never! She would have knocked me into the middle of next week!
Coincidently, that same day I was talking to someone else who works in a high school cafeteria and she told me that schools are now required to put at least 50% fresh vegetables and fruit on school lunch plates. I told her that was a positive change but she told me that the students won’t eat them and throw them away. The kids end up still being hungry and the parents basically threw away five dollars (the cost of a school lunch these days) — which dovetails nicely with the hospital employee story. I am betting the high school kids eat pretty much what they want at home, so why would they want to eat a healthy lunch at school?
Processed foods taste good if you eat a steady diet of them. They are made that way on purpose. If a kid eats these foods at home, no wonder they turn up their noses to healthier choices at school.
We have a health crisis on our hands in the United States and a big part of the problem are the foods we eat. I know the parents are eating the same processed, junk foods as their kids and we are getting sicker as a nation because of it.
I would think the employee at the hospital would know better. She sees what cancer does to patients on a daily basis. We don’t have kids getting treatment at the hospital I am at; they go to a children’s hospital down the street.
There are plenty of studies showing that kids today are getting diseases caused by poor nutrition.
Exactly how much nutrition is the kid getting who eats nothing but chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese? How about zero! It’s not the kid’s fault. She is being a kid. It’s up to the parent to give her better foods. If that kid missed a few meals, you better believe she will eat what’s on her plate next time.
It’s up to each of us to choose better foods. There is enough information out there to make an informed decision. The food manufacturers exist to make money and don’t care if you get sick…or at least make sure you are not be able to link your disease to their particular product.
Parents need to teach their kids good eating habits right from the start — before the child decides to dictate what he/she is willing to eat. Healthy foods do taste better when the person is finally weaned off processed foods. The child or adult will feel the difference quickly just by how much more energy they have. Eating fresh foods help the person stay full longer.
Parents need to be parents. If your kids don’t hate you some of the time, you aren’t doing your job. Parents are not their kid’s friends. Children need parents to guide them to become responsible adults and that includes taking responsibility for the food choices they make. Parents are the ultimate role models, not Miley Cyrus.
Kids bodies are still growing and are especially sensitive to the chemicals in processed foods. Their immune systems must be as strong as possible to combat the plethora of environmental toxins they are exposed to on a daily basis. Eating a diet of fresh (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables is a way to make sure they grow up healthy.
Peace and Good Health!