Chicken “nuggets” shaped like dinosaurs, dipped in “sauce” colored the same color as dancing, singing dinosaurs. Crackers that look like fish, in all the colors of the rainbow. And breakfast cereal that could launch a rocket on the “calories from sugar” alone.
Do our kids really need these things? Or should we, as Dr. David Katz suggested on USNews.com, “eradicate” these foods.
Dr. Katz makes a compelling case, and he doesn’t even start with the health factor (or non-factor) of these foods aimed at kids. Rather, he takes a natural approach: in nature, animals teach their children to eat the same food that they eat. They don’t save the best of the kill for themselves while giving their babies psuedo-food that is fun to look at but won’t help them grow healthy and strong. Humans are the only animals to do that.
Is it because childhood is only “special” if it is coated in sugar? Because we can’t resist the advertising? Because we can’t resist our children who are drawn to the bright colors and characters meant to draw them in? Because we value our children’s lifelong health less than we value their current sugar high?
Surely none of those things are true. And yet here we are, feeding our children things that are not actually meant to sustain life – never mind healthful life.
Now, I admit that I have been known to enjoy a bowl of one of those cold cereals with marshmallows in them, even as an adult. There are probably several other “kid foods” that I am a sucker for. But Dr. Katz is definitely onto something. If we want our kids to grow up to be healthy adults, we need to teach them how healthy adults eat. And the best way to do that is, believe it or not, to feed them the same healthy-adult food we eat. Good habits start early, after all.
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