I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Weight Watchers created a weight-loss app for kids.
Where do I even begin. I thought we were moving away from the scale and towards whole body health. Weight is a very small piece of the picture when it comes to health. Many people, of “normal” weight, still have high cholesterol, high blood sugar and chronic disease.
A child’s body mass index fluctuates throughout growth spurts. Often kids will gain a little weight before a growth spurt, a sign that their body knows what it is doing. Kids aren’t born with diet culture ingrained in them. My 8 month old stops eating when she isn’t hungry anymore. She loves raspberries but she always reaches a point where she shakes her head and doesn’t want another one.
We are born to be intuitive eaters. Our bodies, when healthy, tell us what we need.
Rather than writing a post bashing the app, I am going to share what I think we need as a society to change things for the better. It begins with the educators and parents.
First, those of us who have an education in nutrition need to stop talking about diets with our kids. Don’t say your paleo, keto or carb free. How you eat in your house is up to you and it doesn’t need a name. In fact, we might all be better off if we stopped talking about diets outside of medicinal purposes. Giving your way of eating a name puts you, and your kids, in a box. What if your paleo and want to have a piece of birthday cake at your friends party? Are you no longer paleo?
Education. Education. Education. There are whole people groups without access to the nutrition education they need to make informed decisions. It’s not their fault they don’t know. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what the solution is but I know it isn’t sitting on our butts waiting for something to happen. I am open to all ideas, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthy food is expensive! A box of doughnuts is cheaper than a salad and feeds 6x as many people. We need to teach people how to make inexpensive, but healthy, choices. Frozen vegetables are a great option! Buying in season cuts down on cost. Growing your own lettuce is simple and delicious. Buying in bulk and freezing is another way to save money. These are topics I have realized I need to share more about!
We need to teach our children how amazing food is. Food contains every micronutrient our body needs to survive. Different foods contain different micronutrients, variety is important. Treats are also important. Food isn’t just fuel, food is part of what brings us all together. We invite people to eat with us as a sign we want to get to know them. We give food as gifts to bring comfort. We have cake on special occasions to celebrate. Not all food has to be nutrient dense but for optimal health most of our intake should be. We eat too much sugar, we don’t feel good. We eat too much spinach……come on, no one eats too much spinach. Keep your kitchen stocked with nutrient dense food and make treats a normal part of your routine.
I could say so much more but these are just a few of my thoughts considering the conversation that Kurbo, the app, has stirred up.
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