It’s 2012, and we know what it takes to have a nutritious diet. Whether you put those choices into the food groups I grew up with, or the pyramid, or now the plate, the basics are the same. A varied diet that is low in fat, high in fiber, and full of fruits and vegetables is good for you.
So how do we get that people don’t know what nutrition is? We were all taught it in school. We see it on TV. It’s in newspapers, on the web, and in magazines all the time. Yet I still go to the grocery store – whether it’s the low budget no frills store or the high end suburban grocery store – and see the kid who only eats chicken nuggets made of cut up processed chicken parts which could conceivably include bones, fat, dyes, breading of who knows what, and any semblance it once had to real meat is now gone.
Or the other choice is a pre-packed lunch box because we are incapable of putting together cheese, crackers, and a cookie all wrapped up in an MSG high calorie package with a cholesterol bow on top.
We don’t want to know. We want to live in a world of denial where:
- Eating a pickle spear counts as a vegetable because once upon a time part of it was a cucumber.
- That ketchup packet in the drive thru counts as a vegetable serving.
- French fries count as a double vegetable because we super-sized the order and threw extra salt on top.
- We justify fruit drink as a fruit because it’s the color of a fruit and has fruit in its name.
- We say we can’t afford healthful food choices when a grocery card is full of sodas, snacks, box mixes, frozen snacks, and more.
Bogus. We know better. Isn’t it time if we are going to make bad choices for our menus that we just own them and say, “I know these food choices will boost my cholesterol, make me gain weight, suck the nutrients I do eat from my body, and shorten my lifespan, but I don’t care.“
I deserve better, and so do you. Try a single baby step. Swap out a single snack for a vegetable. Next week, make it two. If we plan menus for our families or for others, work twice as hard to give health a chance.
Warning: if I cook a meal for you or help you plan an event, I’m going to ask, “Where’s the food?” And that is going to mean real food, as in original source fruits and vegetables.
I’m doubly determined because last year my town was highly ranked for its obesity rate. Like others concerned in my community, I’m working to do my part to knock down our rating and build the fitness of our community.
All I am saying is: give health a chance. I know that if I want there to be health in Evansville, I have to let it begin with me, and my own dinner table.
Won’t you join me?