Failed by their schools, kids rely on parents and coaches to teach them about proper nutrition.
Toward the end of our cross-country flight from San Diego, California, to the Northeast, the first-class flight attendant appeared in coach holding a tray of fresh-baked cookies. The sweet, warm smell filled the cabin as she passed over the adults and stopped at every row with kids, carefully handing cookies to all the children. A few minutes later the drink cart rolled down the aisle.
“Orange juice? Apple juice?” the flight attendant asked my kids, ages 7 and 10.
Once we reached our final destination for holidays with family, the treats continued, including after-breakfast lollipops the kids found in the basement, multiple trips to the doughnut shop and sugary Vitaminwater for hydration following a spirited game of driveway basketball.
Each cookie or doughnut was given with love and a sense of celebration. None of the treats on its own was terrible, but day after day the kids exceeded the six-teaspoon added-sugar daily limit recommended by the World Health Organization.
As a health-conscious parent, I had two choices: smile and say nothing or speak up and make everyone feel bad.
I usually picked the first option, knowing our daily healthy eating habits matter more than a few days of holiday excess. But when is it time to choose the second option?
And how do you get through to kids when sugar is available everywhere and they’re told eating it is OK?