As nearly everyone has heard by now, America is in the midst of an epidemic of childhood obesity that has created a growing health crisis for our kids. According to the Nestle Nutrition Institute’s benchmark Feeding Infant and Toddler Study (FITS), many of our children are eating a poor quality diet too high in calories and too low in nutrition. About 1 in 3 older babies and toddlers are not eating a single vegetable on a given day! And things don’t get better as children get older: According to a study in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, U.S. kids are getting nearly half of their daily energy intake from empty calories, i.e., “junk food.” Our current eating and lifestyle habits are taking a serious toll on the younger generations: Upwards of 23 million U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese and currently at risk for other health problems associated with obesity.
But the situation is far from hopeless. In fact, there is a powerful movement underway guiding us into healthier, more natural, sustainable eating practices in this country. The Real Food Moms believe that for families to thrive, the bulk of their diet needs to be made up of fresh, whole, “real” foods from sustainable sources. We believe that people are built to be “natural eaters” like all the other animals in the kingdom –eating real foods in reasonable amounts, according to individual internal cues for hunger and satiety that change as we grow and develop, with the seasons of the year, and with the fickle, evolving demands of our lives.
With our poor eating habits and increasingly processed and factory-farmed food supply over the past 50 years, we have sabotaged our metabolisms and short circuited this innate ability to eat naturally. The Real Food Moms believe it’s possible to reboot those “factory settings” with some strategic changes to our daily diet and lifestyle. We are dedicated to making it easier for parents to prepare tasty, healthy, real food for their families in the small amounts of time we have available to us each day.
In the blogs that follow this week, we will share some of our most powerful tips for raising healthy eaters from the cradle, for getting finicky family members to eat more veggies, and for quickly and easily correcting some of our most problematic eating habits.