Let’s go back in time.
Let’s go back to the time of Victory Gardens.
During the first and second World Wars, Americans were encouraged to plant gardens as a way to offset the burden of food shortages and food rations. Over 20 million Americans planted gardens in their backyards, on rooftops of their apartment buildings, and in vacant lots throughout cities. Over 9-10 million tons of fresh fruits and vegetables were produced in Victory Gardens throughout America. (Source)
When the war was over, the gardens were no longer encouraged by the government, and Americans fell into the whirlwind world of convenience. As more women stepped into the workforce, it became necessary to find quick and easy ways to prepare meals for families.
Over time, diet fads increased the market for fat free, low fat, low calorie, no-calorie foods, low carb (and the list goes on) foods.
But, wait, Americans are bigger than ever! How can that be?!!?!?
Well, to put it simply, in order to make cookies, cakes, ice cream, crackers, etc. low fat, low calorie AND convenient, the ingredients must be modified, tampered with, and processed. You no longer have a whole food that is close to the source. You have a highly processed food that contains additives, extra “sugar” (HFCS), chemicals, and lord knows what else (I mean what exactly are “natural flavors”?).
One of the saddest consequences of this change from Victory Garden to highly processed food diets, is that our children are suffering.
Take a look at this school lunch.
This is a typical school lunch for students at the elementary school where I work(although this picture is just one I found through Google… just goes to show that kids all across this nation are eating the same kinds of lunches). Frozen pizza, canned and overly buttered (and often overcooked) corn, chocolate milk, and canned fruit. I won’t even go into a sodium, sugar, and calorie count on this meal!
Is this the kind of example we want to set for our children?
Don’t we want our children to develop healthy behaviors as habits, so they don’t have to make lifestyle changes later in life?
This is why I am so happy to see that Michelle Obama has launched a new initiative to solve the childhood obesity epidemic. This initiative is encouraging families to Get Moving and make healthier choices.
Mrs. Obama has planted her own Victory Garden on the White House Lawn and is setting a great example for other families in America.
It is much easier to affect children’s behavior than it is to change old habits in adults.
Let’s set an example for the children around us by changing our habits into habits that we can be proud to share! Let’s get involved in campaigning for healthier foods for school lunches. Let’s support programs such as Slow Food, USA, Get Moving! and Farm to School.
I’m not saying let’s change the world in a week! Let’s take baby steps and see what kind of an impact we can have. I wonder if Eleanor Roosevelt knew that Victory Gardens would help produce almost 10 million tons of fresh fruits and vegetables when she planted her garden on the White House Lawn???