Meet Latest Junior Health Coaches
I get asked to make the girl scout round often these days. I love to oblige when I’m able because reaching out to the kids is so important. And as a mom myself, I know that sometimes kids are more willing to receive certain information from anyone other than their own parents.
So it was great fun had last week with this troop in Plainville. I was super impressed with how much the girls already knew about nutrition and the importance of being active. Many said they rarely- or even never!- ate at fast food restaurants.
We started out the night with a little movement.
After, we talked about what was going on with our bodies- hearts pumping, feeling warm- and how that might help our bodies to feel good.
Later in the session, we talked about how our bodies haven’t changed since our cave-dwelling days, but that our surroundings have. Did our ancestors go to the store to buy food? Did foods come in boxes? Were the foods colored fluorescent green and blue? We then talked about fast food nuggets and just what was in them. The girls learned a new vocabulary word- dimethylpolysiloxane- an anti-foaming agent used in nuggets and other fast food, and also used in shampoos and various textiles. They were pretty grossed out.
One part I found interesting was when I read to them from the back of a candy fruit roll-up. The girls were surprised by the number of ingredients that were unhealthy, considering it’s marketed as a healthy treat, but what surprised me was their reaction when I asked if I should open it. “Ewww…no, gross!” They knew the candy was from Halloween; they clearly understood that real food is supposed to decompose; what they didn’t know is how preservatives work. And these preservatives really help to mess up our bodies.
So I encourage caregivers out there to try this experiment with your little ones:
Take a store bought cookie, pastry, or piece of candy and place it in its wrapper on a shelf somewhere next to a piece of fruit or vegetable. The fruit or vegetable will have to be in a jar to avoid fruit flies and the smellies. Have your child make daily/weekly/monthly notes of changes in these foods. This experiment is a great visual for kids to begin understanding how real food vs. edible “food” compare.
I did this experiment with Twinkies, though I took them out of the package and placed them in jars. Moisture seeped into the jars, so they did start to decompose about nine months later.
Today, a year and half later, they are still only partially decomposed. Yes, for real. I’ll post a photo soon!
Then the girls were a bit sugar-shocked when I showed them how much sugar was in one 6 oz. container of Yoplait low-fat Key Lime Pie yogurt. Remember: 4 g = 1 tsp. Word is that some of these gals have been scouring their cupboards and reporting to their parents the amount of sugar they’re finding. Love it!
We ended this super fun session with popcorn, popped the old-fashioned way- on top of the stove, and green “Shrek” smoothies.
Will these girls abolish fast food and sugar from their lives forever? Probably not, though I’d love if they did! But what happened last week is seeds were planted. Don’t be afraid to plant seeds with your children, literally and metaphorically. Talk about food, and how important it is to our health- both mental and physical. Create stories around the fruits and vegetables you serve. Cook together. Try new things.
This is how you influence the health of your family, and the health of our future.
Thanks so much for a super fun time, girls!