- I recently saw an 8-year-old guzzling a 2 liter bottle of bright red punch.
- In school my daughter made a “basket” of chocolate covered wafers, glued together with chocolate spread. She ate so much of it that she barfed.
- That same daughter had a frosted doughnut, a frosted cookie, candy and an edible fruit roll-up cookie flower for a special event at school. In one day.
- And it seems that every few Shabbasim, we encounter a candy table where kids have free rein to collect as much as they can stuff in their bags, pockets and mouths.
But what really put me over the top was the lollies as big as your face and giant jaw breakers that a few girls brought to our ACHDUS Runners club recently. It’s running club, people!
In the words of a book I’m reading by farmer Joel Salatin, “Folks, this ain’t normal.”
But rather than sit around and complain, I’ve got a plan. We’re introducing Healthy Choices for Healthy Kids in our running club. My goal is to help the girls distinguish what is healthy and what is junk because it’s not always so clear. And then, once they know more about what they’re eating, I want them to think first.
I’m using a version of a traffic light model that I’ve seen online and in healthy eating books.
- Green light foods are Go Foods: foods kids can eat anytime because they make them stronger and healthier
- Yellow light foods are Slow Down Foods: foods that fill kids up without being too nutritious but also without being too harmful. These are foods that kids should only eat a little–like pretzels.
- Red light foods are Stop Foods: foods that kids should stop and think, “Should I really eat this?” While many would advocate for eating no “red foods,” in my neighborhood where kids are accustomed to eating candy every day, I’m hoping to just get kids to stop and reconsider before eating these foods.
Each week’s lesson is no more than 10 minutes long and includes a creative game and an optional assignment–like passing up a yellow food for a green one or trying something new this week. Girls who report back on their success are receiving a raffle ticket for an end-of-season raffle.
Wish us luck!