The title may confuse you but there is a vast difference between preparing food for your child with real wholesome foods and shoving their lunchbox full of store bought snacks and take aways for school. It is a known fact that sugar, salt and wheat (gluten too) are causing massive disruption in concentration levels, performance and behaviour in children! Store bought ‘quick foods’ are laced with all these toxic ingredients and more!
It saddens me so much to meet little kids that can’t run, jump or play because they are too heavy! It saddens me to get referrals from paediatricians for children so overweight their joints are taking strain, not to mention the kids that cannot concentrate on their school work. This is not okay! When did it become acceptable for every second child to be so grossly overweight that they can’t participate in school sports, kids needing knee surgeries due to excess pressure on their joints or every second child has a concentration problem, these are new problems and why? We have become too busy and too lazy! Too busy to read to our kids, too busy or lazy to prepare meals as a family, too busy to play games outside, so we feel guilty and guilty means we say ‘NO’ less! Instead, we rush through our morning routine, we load ourselves and our kids up with disgusting quick cereals that are laden with chemicals and sugars that fire up our energy levels for all of ten minutes and then leave us to crash and burn in a pit of post ‘sugar high’ despair. We then plonk everyone in the car, dash off to school, chuck some money at our kids for tuckshop because we didn’t manage to prepare lunches for them. Alternatively, we shove last night’s take away leftovers into a Tupperware and send them off with that for the day! Combine that with a fizzy cooldrink and bam, lunchbox sorted! They’ll survive, that’ll fill them up! Home time and our offspring have extra murial activities and homework, so in-between they shovel down whatever other nastiness is packed into their lunch boxes or what they could quickly grab at the tuckshop i.e sweets, cheap packets of luminous orange coloured chips, chocolates, white bread sandwiches with processed meat and yellow cheese. Gulp this down with another fizzy drink or sugar laden juice or sports drink and voila! energy for the afternoon! Only for a tiny while though, then comes the slump, the body just cant cope with all those toxins!
The slump comes right before homework time, right before you sit down with them for the first time that day and try to help them decipher their school tasks for the next day. Mentally you are exhausted from a long day at work, they are exhausted and can’t concentrate because the sugar that was fueling them has now run its course and has left your poor munchkin lethargic, cranky and on the verge of a narcoleptic power nap. That sugar fueled roller coaster left the tracks ages ago. So you argue, because they need to finish their homework and its taking three hours and you also have stuff to do. They argue back because they can’t figure this stuff out, their brain feels like mush after the blood sugar rush and all they want to do is go and relax in front of the TV so they can gather what bit of energy and vooma they have left and rally themselves for another day at school tomorrow! Not to mention the irritation you feel when you see the notes from the teacher about how disruptive your child was that day, or how they just aren’t managing to focus and keep up.
Homework takes forever, so you pop something quick in the microwave, dash around the kitchen. Chuck some gross spices over the food, like aromat and fill up your glasses with some form of cool drink or juice and wolf it down so everyone can chill a bit before the chaos commences tomorrow at 5:45am! Groundhog day repeats.
Sounding familiar? Hopefully not, but for many many families these days, this is their norm. We are no longer living in an economy where one parent can comfortably stay home and not work. Both parents have to burn the candle at both ends in order to make it through a month and it is taking its toll. On individuals, families and especially the kids!
No, I’m sorry, this isn’t okay! We can’t just sit back and accept that everyone is getting fatter, unhealthier and more lethargic. We have become a ‘microwave generation’, everything has to be quick and easy, this isn’t normal! Not for us and especially not for our kids. Kids are not meant to be overweight and sluggish! They just aren’t. They are meant to be lean, mean, energetic machines! They are also meant to be healthy and resilient, not on medication for concentration and hyperactivity and antibiotics every second month for infections!
If this sounds like your child, then I’m afraid it falls on you. It’s your fault! That child does not do the grocery shopping, they do not do the cooking or the lunchbox packing, nor should they! You are their parent, you set the example and when you decided to have that child the responsibility fell on you to make sure that they received the absolute best possible upbringing! Their developmental years are crucial. You are, after all, paving the way for that child’s health, mentally and physically, as well as the habits they will carry over to their children one day! Do you really want to sit with that on your conscience?
Hate me if you must, but I too am a mother of two munchkins, or ‘wild animals’ as I like to call them, gorgeous but wild. My husband runs our family farm with only one helper and I run my own business and help out on the farm where I can, I do all my own housework and the kids are at home with me every day. We are both busy and I completely understand how full a day can be! My priority is my family’s health and no matter how busy the day gets, it is always my aim to nourish their body’s and mine! Otherwise how would we cope? My mom is also a teacher with 35 years of experience, recently retired and I know for a fact that she used to notice the difference between the kids that ate wholesome lunches and those that were left with tuck money or lunchboxes filled with synthetic foods. She especially noted the change in the children after lunchbreak. They went from lethargic to hyperactive and out of control in one foul swoop! Cake sale Friday’s were her biggest nightmare, after the 10am break those kiddo’s could not be taught. Common denominators? Sugar, toxins, synthetic foods!
If any of this is ringing true then please sit a little closer and let my try help you! In this day and age life is tough, cost of living is high, days are full and school tuck shops cannot always be trusted to supply the healthiest choices for our children. Let me help you figure out the best possible way for your family to incorporate a little more health and wellness in your day! You don’t need tons of money, just the will to want to do better, for you and for your kids! You will actually save money! Restaurant food is expensive and so is illness and medication! I would rather spend a few more minutes in the kitchen than deal with an ill disciplined, disruptive or constantly sick child. Agreed? Now let’s do this.
Find those five minutes in the evening to pack them a healthy lunchbox, not only will you be helping them by fueling their body’s and minds correctly but you will also be helping the teachers to teach them. It isn’t easy to work with a lethargic child or one who is struggling to concentrate and even more so a child who is so ‘hopped up’ on a sugar buzz that they disrupt the whole class. And it isn’t fair to your child either, it just puts more stress on their already stressful schedule! They don’t know better. Lighten the load for everyone. Pack better lunches! It’s a win-win situation! And while you are at it, pack yourself a lunchbox too!
Have a quick look at the list of options for lunches that I have added for you in Part 2. This is a quick, general guideline. Naturally, if your child has specific nutritional needs (lactose intolerance, wheat intolerance, a medical condition etc) you would need something more tailored and personalized but this list offers an all over idea of what is safe to add in to their lunchboxes. The golden rule is this, if it doesn’t look like it does in nature, don’t eat it!!! It’s as easy as that. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, biltong and wholegrains. Nothing Fat free! Nothing sweetened. All natural and all safe! Sugar laced foods, wheat, artificially flavoured, sweetened, salted foods are inhibiting the body’s natural ability to perform and repair! We are damaging the signal from the brain to the body and this connection is like an air traffic control tower. If the control tower is out of whack then all the aeroplanes crash! Hello attention deficit, hello hyperactivity, discipline issues, mood swings, suppressed immune systems which lead to recurring illness, allergies etc. Please, for the love of our munchkins. Make the time! Buy real food. Make real food! I am here to help. Contact me, stalk me, ask me questions, visit my website or my facebook page for ideas. We need to turn the tables on this ‘comfort zone’ people are settling into. Years back there weren’t nearly as many overweight individuals, let alone children! There weren’t as many cases of antibiotic usage. We need to step in folks, we can change this. One household at a time.
Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it!”
– Heather Morgan