When we produced an article featuring 15 healthy back-to-school-lunch ideas last month, several readers commented that their children wouldn’t go near some of the featured recipes. According to these readers, kids just wouldn’t eat things like Curried Chicken and Apple Lettuce Wraps or Chewy Date and Walnut Bars.
"I have to say that I wish my children would eat these wonderful lunch suggestions. Unfortunately their tastes are for McDonald’s and Kraft Dinner!" says commenter Lauren.
It seems that schools adhering to new provincial regulations for healthier cafeteria fare are facing similar reactions from their students. According to this article in the Globe and Mail, Canadian school cafeterias are reporting a 10 to 30 percent drop in sales in regions where healthy-food regulations are in place. One reason for the drop, educators say, is that kids are going off campus to get their junk-food fix. Even though schools are making healthier options available, the kids aren’t buying them.
Why is this happening? It could be because no one is telling the kids why their beloved fries and pizza have been replaced with healthier choices, one B.C. dietitian told the Globe. Perhaps the trouble isn’t that kids are enemies of fruits and veggies, but that they just don’t know why these foods are better choices than nachos and burgers.
You can’t just put a carrot and a chocolate bar in front of a child and expect her to choose the carrot of her own volition. Chocolate tastes great, and if that’s all she understands, we can’t expect her to give up her candy. But what if you taught her about the health benefits of choosing the carrot? Perhaps she would then choose the healthier option at least some of the time. Kids learn by example. Do you think parents and schools need to do more to teach children about good nutrition?