It’s not about the juice.
Maybe I should avoid blanket statements. Maybe there are a few kids out there who sit on the couch all day long drinking apple juice. If that’s true, then those kids should really lay off the juice.
But I’m fairly certain that it’s not about the juice.
Yes, childhood obesity is a BIG concern. Childhood obesity comes with some significant risks: High blood pressure, breathing problems, Type 2 diabetes, and social and emotional problems to name a few. Let’s not forget about the future risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
The good news is that this country is finally taking childhood obesity seriously and providing some much needed parent education.
The bad news is that people insist on blaming apple juice.
I’m not a spokesperson for apple juice. I don’t know anyone who works for any company that makes apple juice. I don’t even really like apple juice (too sweet for this mama).
Even my kids can’t stand the taste of straight apple juice (mean mommy cuts it 50/50 with water and ice in this house).
But I am a believer in educating from all angles.
You can’t just take away the apple juice and call the problem solved.
We took the kids to our local pool over the weekend. As my daughter and I sat on a bench wrapped in towels and soaking up a little sunshine, another girl started a debate with her mom. The ice cream truck had shown up just in time for the pool to close, as it always does, and the little girl wanted some ice cream.
The exchange went a little something like this:
“I want an ice cream right now. Pleeeeeease?”
“You already had ice cream this morning.”
“I really want an ice cream from the ice cream truck!”
“You didn’t eat your lunch (3pm), eat this sandwich.”
Cue the hysteria of a 4 year old…
“Please?! I need ice cream.”
“Ok, after you finish your sandwich.”
She inhaled that sandwich in record time…
What could possibly be the occasion that results in two ice cream cones for a four year old child during the course of one day? Does it even matter?
Parents need to learn about healthy lifestyle choices.
You can’t fend off a tantrum with food because then you will always have to.
You can’t let your kids sit around all day, eating high fructose corn syrup disguised as a snack and drinking things like soda and, yes, even juice.
You have to model healthy eating habits and stock your house with healthy choices.
You have to get some exercise and make outdoor playtime fun.
You have to be involved in the lives of your children. You might want to write that blog post or fold those clothes…but your children need exercise and playtime.
You need to prioritize.
You need to get involved in the school and fight for the needs of your children. Physical education in public schools is minimal at best right now. You can’t sit back and let that happen.
You have to choose to be a part of the solution.
You have to teach your children about their bodies. You have to educate them about how food choices affect their bodies and how to make good choices.
You have to make the choices that you want your children to make. Every. Single. Day.
It’s not about the juice.
It’s about the parenting.
How do you teach healthy living in your house?
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Thursday 28th of June 2012
Great post! You sound like ME! I'm the mean Mom who tells people to please not give my 3 year old a lollipop or gum. We don't give those to her, so other people shouldn't either. We teach Little One about healthy living by offering her a variety of fruits and vegetables and encouraging her to "eat a rainbow" every day. She eats what we eat, and that's a good thing. She loves okra, spinach, broccoli, tofu, chickpeas, quinoa, sushi, etc. It may sound a bit mean, but we give her two options: Eat it or don't eat it, but you're not having anything else. She tries to get away with what her friends get away with. Ex: Her friends refuse to eat anything but chicken fingers and fries...or nothing at all and then when 11PM comes rolling around, they are hungry and ask for Oreos. Their parents give in to the Oreo requests, because it's easier than having to deal with the crying and resistance. I totally get it. I know how hard it is to deal with the whining and crying, and temper tantrums. I just think that once kids know they can get that Oreo from you if they cry enough, you're done for.
:) I guess I can expect lots of hate mail now from this comment :) xoxox
Jody @ Mommy Moment
Friday 29th of June 2012
I'm with you Christine! I think if you start right from the beginning it is not as big a challenge. We let our girls have the occasional treat, but just because our 3 year old could get a free hot chocolate at Timmies after every soccer game (part of the program)...we only took her for one after her last game of the season. Balance is key! Thanks for your comment.
Thursday 28th of June 2012
My 3yr old LOVES apple juice, but it is a rare thing in our house, I'd rather she have a glass of water. There is little junk food in our home, any "junk" is homemade from scratch no mixes. I'd am proud to say that my 3yr old, right now, will choose an apple over most junk foods. I have had it thrown in my face (by family) that she only thinks that way because of how and what we have always feed her. That's right, I made the choice to feed her healthy foods and now she is learning to make healthy choices. (This poor little girl does get chocolate too, not just healthy food.)