It’s really amazing how the universe seems to give me a nudge that points me in the right direction whenever I’m feeling unsure of something. There it was, a Facebook post by Robyn O’Brien (one of my true heroes)…
“According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 Caucasian children born in the year 2000 (this year’s 9th graders) and 1 in 2 minority kids born that year are expected to be insulin dependent in their lifetime.”
As disappointing as that was to read, it was the sign I needed to go ahead with this blog post.
Before 2010, my daughter’s school had no idea what a Wellness Committee was, or what purpose it might serve. Although the committee has evolved and accomplished some amazing goals, I still can’t help but feel that when I speak at PTA meetings, my agenda is pretty low on the totem pole. I learned the hard way, there is a delicate balance, a fine line if you will, between educating parents about the dangers of diet and disease and sounding like a pompous alarmist. But the statistics speak for themselves, whether you choose to listen or not.
This past meeting was no different. We often have guest speakers at our meetings, like detectives and police sergeants who speak about school security threats and safety issues. While I will agree that those topics are of critical importance to parents, myself included, I couldn’t help but wonder what the statistics really were of something happening to my child at school. According to David Finklehor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, the chances of a student being harmed over the course of a school day is less than one in a million. See more at: http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/although-school-shootings-are-rare-stats-dont-quiet-fears/#sthash.REeSqy57.dpufif )
My talk about National Nutrition Month (NNM) followed the detective’s presentation. By the time it was my turn to speak it felt like,
ok, now we can let the nice lady speak about salad! Same old story, eat your vegetables…right?!
Maybe it’s my own insecurity, but I truly do not believe parents understand the magnitude and depth of what our committee is trying to accomplish. Just last week, the school cafeteria started serving fruit roll-ups alongside the artificially-colored chocolate chip cookies and “whole grain” (yah, ok) rice krispie treats. What I really wanted to do was stand up and shout at the top of my lungs…
If you want to talk about threats, let’s talk about the one that our children face every single day… the food they’re eating and how at this very moment, we’re slowly allowing them to develop life-threating diseases.
Why are we allowing this to happen? Because most people don’t get the connection between diet and disease. It remains the single biggest threat to our mortality.
Whether right or wrong, that is truly how I feel.
So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s talk about the salad.
For this year’s NNM theme, we chose to have the children get creative in the kitchen with salad greens, take a picture, write up a recipe and have it posted on the school’s main hallway bulletin board. I know salad and greens are not very popular among children, but that is exactly why I chose to do it. And who best to help us but Kermit, who knows exactly how tough it is to be green! (clever huh?!)
At first I was afraid we’d get no participation… I held my breathe. But with a little bit of coaxing, our board started filling up! Parents are home searching recipes and kids are in the kitchen slicing and dicing! We’re not just talking salad here, we’re talking life-saving skills, life-saving messages!
The students have been walking by the board discussing the recipes and wanting to try them! When I saw the first group of pictures come in, my heart almost burst out of my chest!
This is what kids need to see!
The board is now almost completely full and it looks amazing!
We CAN reverse these awful health statistics. Make healthy food a priority in your school and at home. We must, for our children’s sake.
This post is part of a March #LoveHealthy Veggie Campaign.
Follow me and other amazing bloggers who’ll be giving healthy eating tips, recipes and ideas all month long:
- Don’t Panic Mom
- School Bites
- Real Mom Nutrition
- Produce For Kids
- Mom’s Kitchen Handbook
- Simple City Life
- Real Kids Eat Spinach
- Teeny Tiny Foodie
- Laughing Lemon Pie
- Super Healthy Kids
- Teaspoon of Spice
- Raise Healthy Eaters
- Red, Round, Green