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Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

Yesterday I found out that the city of San Fransisco passed an ordinance that fast food chains could not include a toy in their kid’s meals if they do not meet certain nutritional requirements.  This was passed by an 8-3 vote and will go into effect in 2011. I truly live in a state that is a few french fries short of a full Happy Meal!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  Former President Ronald Regan. 

Regardless if you like his politics or not, that quote makes  sence.  Why is the government infringing on the rights of a private company in doing business?  Essentially they are taking away the freedom of not only the company to offer goods to the consumer, but the rights away from the citizens of San Fransisco or any American that visits that city.  I like to use Happy Meals as a special treat to PD1 and I have a right to be able to exercise my right as a FREE American to do so. 

Happy Meals are not something that should be demonized as “bad”.  They are not bad, they are fun and exciting for kids and parents.  If we start demonizing the Happy Meal to the problems of childhood obesity, then you are opening a huge can of worms on a lot of products that are out there.  If you think the “food police” that is trying to birth “Food Law” will stop here, you are only kidding yourself.  I like junk food from time to time, I do not want anyone telling me when, how or what I can have.  Some would probably say that is the Libertarian in me, I say it is the American in me coming out.

 It is not the McDonald’s of  America that is making our kids fat.  I feel it is a  cumulation of  five things that are making these kids fat, which all points back to parent/guardian responsibility for their kids.   

1).  Parent’s not taking the nutritional responsibility of their kids.  The fact that San Fransisco feels that they have to pass laws on private companies to keep kids out of obesity trouble is abominable.  I know that there is an argument that areas of more economic challenge tends to breed bad and cheap food choices, but I was one of those kids growing up in poverty and I was not eating McDonald’s or other fast food options.  We ate home cooked meals made by a step- mother that worked three jobs. Sure, it was not organic or top quality, but it was full of a  balanced nutrition and that was before WIC was ever put into place. 

2.)  Kid’s no longer know how to play.  They just know how to play video games and watch TV.  Some of this has to do with fear based ideas that there are predators lurking around every corner.  Most incidents come from inside the family/friend circle.  It is very rare to have an outsider be a predator. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comfortable to just letting my kids go willy nilly in the neighborhood, but if more families would let their kids out to play there is safety in numbers.  As a kid, I traveled in a pack, outside of the few kid related dramas of bones, scrapped knees and disagreements all was harmonious and fun.   I guarantee that I burned hundreds of calories riding my bike  and running around with my buddies.

3.)  Snacks need to be more realistic in size and in food options.  We were a poor family, but eating just an apple was a filing snack.   A couple of crackers with peanut butter was a snack, and an orange was a snack. These snack options would tied me over to the next meal just fine.  It is amazing what a “snack” constitutes these days.  It is equivalent to a meal calorie wise.  I take my PD1 to a mommy and me class setting and we have “snack time”.  I see these other two-year olds eating so much for a snack and then loaded up with fruit juice.  If one feeds their kids a snack that are high in content and calories a couple of times a day, in addition to three meals they are going to set their kids up to being fat.

4.) It is not an option for Physical Education to be the first to be cut when budgets gets weakParent’s should be holding the school board accountable of keeping a balance of education.  This meaning keeping art, music, and physical education that is the glue that binds the core subjects together.  Hey, their taxes are paying for it.  

In my observation it appears more class room behavioral problems surface when those three subjects are booted out.  It also un-nerves me to see the school administration say that they are doing all they can in their power to better the education of the kids even with all of these hard economic times. Really?   School is about the kids, right?   Then cut the administration salaries and give it back to the school so these programs stay alive.  If you ever been to Los Angeles Unified School District Administration building in downtown, you understand that LAUSD is very top-heavy and could use some serious re-structuring and salary readjustments.

5.) Parent’s going back to the grass-roots of fast food being a treat.  Fast food should never be  a quick and easy fix to feeding your kid for the day.   Parent’s need to take control of the situation.  So what if your kid wants fast food every night, it does not mean that you comply.  You can feed your kids quick and inexpensive meals at home. 

A whole wheat tortilla, cheese, tomatoes, refried black beans, brown rice burritos takes about the same time to make as sitting in the drive thru. You can even can make extras and freeze them for a “quick pop in the microwave need”.  I did a quick break down of this choice that many kids get at Taco Bell and it literally costs a total of $15.oo for all the  ingredients that would make about 12 burritos. That comes to about $1.25 per burritos.  I included instant brown rice which cooks up in the microwave in 90 seconds, the beans heat up in the microwave in about 2 minutes and assembling the burritos (all twelve of them) would take about ten minutes.  That comes to about 15 minutes to have an immediate meal and 11 more for the future. 

Yesterday, I  also did a test  going through the McDonald’s drive -thru during an “off-peak” time and it was seven minutes (during peak times one should add about 3-5 minutes to that).  The time between the two are just a few minutes. Therefore, the rationalization that I have heard from parents that it is cheaper and faster to resort to fast food is an excuse and a lazy one at that.  The bottom line is there are many more meals that can be made at home that are cheap, quick and has a good nutritional value.  There are no excuses!

It is the parent’s that are responsible for this problem,  not the fast food industry.  Just taking out a toy from a Happy Meal is not going to keep the kids from eating Happy Meals, eating ice cream from Dairy Queen, or having frozen milk shakes and burgers from Sonic.  It is time to teach our kids self-control, making good choices, and being accountable. 

Teaching our kids that it is OK for government establishments to put unreasonable and non-successful “smack down ordinance laws”  is only teaching them that freedom has its limitations when someone views it as” not good for you”.   Fast food is not bad for you if you do it in moderation, it is bad for you if you do it all the time.  To much of anything is not good for anyone.  To much TV is bad, too much studying is bad, even too much water can be bad. 

We are wired to have self-control and responsiblity be our guide.  We are smart and intelligent beings, we are  people who should understand natural logical consequences and face those  consequences if you make bad choices.   What is next, they take all  cookies, chips, crackers, soft drinks, ice cream and candy out of the grocery stores if it does not meet nutritional guidelines!

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