"The Year of the Vegetable"

Happy New Year! After a couple of weeks off for some family time, I am back in school and ready to spend the next 3 ½ months learning about Clinical Nutrition and Reproductive Health & Nutrition – two of my last classes!

Right now we are learning a lot about stress. It’s one of my favorite topics, because it is so strongly linked to many different diseases and symptoms. I know I talk about stress often, but it’s good to revisit because we all experience it and are constantly trying to manage our stress. Next week I will go into more detail on stress, the science behind it, and the nutrition to help you cope with it.

Today, I want to leave you with an article that I really liked from Monday’s Opinion section of the Wall Street Journal, called “2011: The Year of the Vegetable.” It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but I appreciated the writer’s approach of holding parents accountable for what their kids eat. Click HERE to read the full article. To summarize: Childhood obesity is clearly a rising problem (and not only that, but all of the diseases and symptoms that accompany it – from ADHD to anxiety to diabetes in children). Basically, George Ball is saying that parents cannot expect their children to make healthy choices on their own. They live in a world that hands them bad food: school lunches, birthday parties, vending machines. It’s up to their parents to model healthy choices because – as we all know – kids imitate their parents. This goes beyond just serving a vegetable with dinner each night. Parents must work to get their kids excited about trying new foods. Growing vegetables in the home and including kids in cooking are some ways to do this. Parents must also recognize and appreciate the fact that liking vegetables is an acquired taste. Don’t give up – be patient with your kids and continue to model healthy choices and behavior. If it takes 2 years before your child tries a piece of celery, that's okay! At least you persisted and he's now eating celery.

George Ball is chairmen of Burpee Co., which sells vegetable seeds and plants that can be easily grown inside the home (for those who don’t have a garden or are too overwhelmed to create one). Check them out HERE. Start small: Maybe just grow 1-2 vegetables this year. But include your kids and see how they react to the process.

Have a great weekend!