I don't know if you've noticed but a lot of children in this country are overweight or maybe it is just here in Texas (5 cities in Texas made the top 10 fattest cities in the country. Pretty sorry statistic isn't it?). I don't know what is causing this trend (I have my suspicions) but as parents we have a responsibility to try our best to stop it. I suspect that a lot of the upward movement in children's weight has to do with the preponderance of processed foods and fast food but I could be wrong.
I was really lucky. Neither one of my boys have suffer a weight problem. This is probably due to the fact that:
1. We had no money for prepared foods. Everything we ate I made from scratch.
2. We had enough property to grow a large garden even if it meant digging up a good portion of the backyard or even the front yard. (Ask my mom, she had a very sunny front yard, we didn't. We dug up parts of her flower beds to put in a veggie garden for all of us. Tomato plants can be lovely when mixed with flowers that bugs don't like.)
3. Going to a fast food place was a luxury and a real sit down place was a once a year special occasion.
4. Washington State has very few buffets.
5. Meat of any kind was considered a luxury item. Since, we couldn't grow it we didn't eat much of it. When we did eat it it was in very small amounts. Sort of like Thomas Jefferson. Who said "meat is the sauce for my vegetables". Recipes that called for a pound of hamburger I used a half a pound or less. When I gave up meat for health reasons the whole family ate even less.
Cutting some of the meat from your and your child's diet doesn't have to mean less nutrition. There are plenty of vegetarian adults and children who are healthier and weigh less than meat eating children. Then again if not done right there are some fat vegetarians but on average they usually weigh less. I'm not going to preach about vegetarianism or tell you that if you are not a vegetarian you are evil (I'll leave that to PETA. They seem to have cornered the market on guilt and crazy with emphasis on crazy) what I will say is that prepared foods, fast food, and a diet that emphasizes meat as the main ingredient is just not very good for you.
My friend Candy (another librarian) and I have put together a bunch of articles and websites by sources that are NOT veg.org, Vegetarian Times, or (god forbid) PETA that might shed some light on nutrition, vegetarianism, and children's health. Visit one, some, none, or all of them to get informed about how cutting some, none or all of the meat from your and your child's diet.
Direct quotes are in italics.
Nutrition For Kids by: The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine
People who maintain a healthy weight throughout life stay well and live longer than those who are overweight. The lifestyle habits that help keep us slim—exercise and a healthy diet—also cut our risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
Guidelines for Proper Nutrition for Vegetarian Kids by: Sue Gilbert‚ M.S.‚ Nutritionist ON Jul 22, 1999Read More http://www.ivillage.com/proper-nutrition-vegetarian-kids/6-128541#ixzz0oUxpKU4X
Kids Health from Nemours
Vegetarianism is a popular choice for many individuals and families. But parents may wonder if kids can safely follow a vegetarian diet and still get all necessary nutrients. Most dietary and medical experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian diet can actually be a very healthy way to eat.
Teen Vegetarians; Facts for Parents
The University of Maine Extension Service answers questions about whether teens will get enough nutrients, where to find protein sources, and how to help your teen eat healthy.
United States Department of Agriculture has a wonderful collection of links about vegetarian nutrition.
KeepKidsHealthy.com; a Pediatricians guide to your children's health and safety. Is another site that discusses health and vegetarian diets. Parents, especially if they are vegetarians, can feel reassured that they can safely raise their kids to be vegetarians too.
Vegetarian diets and childhood obesity prevention byEpidemiologic studies indicate that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower prevalence of obesity in adults and children. A meta-analysis of adult vegetarian diet studies estimated a reduced weight difference of 7.6 kg for men and 3.3 kg for women, which resulted in a 2-point lower BMI (in kg/m2). Similarly, compared with nonvegetarians, vegetarian children are leaner, and their BMI difference becomes greater during adolescence. Studies exploring the risk of overweight and food groups and dietary patterns indicate that a plant-based diet seems to be a sensible approach for the prevention of obesity in children.
Joan Sabaté and Michelle Wien American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.28701F
Vol. 91, No. 5, 1525S-1529S, May 2010
I hope you found a bit of it informative. (Jan, I know that getting The Young One to eat anything resembling a vegetable might be an impossibility. Some kids are like that. He also, doesn't look like he's in trouble weight wise though)
What do you do that helps you and your child keep that pesky weight off?
I'll have a recipe next week. I know I've been negligent. All I can say is I've been on the road a lot. (excuses, excuses) I do have a pasta recipe that I had The Boy make while I was at work that the guys have been bugging me to make again. They do love their homemade pasta. Best of all....it is dead on easy!
Have a great Monday everyone,