The girls and I have been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution with horror, laughter, sadness, and some major reality checks.
My oldest daughter, in particular, suffered from my inability to cook for the first few years of her life. I admit it, she ate a lot of chicken nuggets for dinner. About a year into single parenthood, I decided it was time for me to figure this out. After trying many different sites and books for those quick and easy healthy dinners, I found my best choice: DreamDinners. Now that the girls are old enough, they join me once a month to assemble the meals that come with really easy instructions and either sides or healthy side ideas and recipes to complete the meal.
The girls eat school lunches once a week, but I’ve always found it cheaper to make their lunches. Oliver’s lunch room drama has only reinforced that decision. It’s ridiculous that federal guidelines allow for so much processed food to become a regular part of our children’s diets. At the same time, it’s ridiculous that some schools/teachers make a child sit on a bench during recess as a consequence instead of running around and getting the exercise they need – and expending some energy that just might help them stay better focused in class.
We were horrified that on Oliver’s show, no one in first grade knew any of those vegetables, but we also still need to do better with our own vegetable intake. I’m not a big believer in the whole “hide the vegetables” philosophy. It’s my job to bring these children into adulthood with the knowledge to feed themselves. How will they know how to do that if they don’t learn what vegetables they like?
This Revolution is just another example of how much our children lose when the curriculum is narrowed to only reflect what’s on the standardized tests. After all, I can send my children to school with the healthiest lunches, but if no one ever tells me that my daughter throws it all away and her friends share their school lunches of pizza and buy her a soda from the vending machine, then my child is no better off. If my daughter has too much homework to help me in the kitchen, then she’s not learning a valuable skill she’ll need as an adult, in college or not.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is another example of how parents and teachers all need to learn to work together to help our children thrive.
image credit: http://www.jamieoliver.com/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/imgs/lead-school.jpg