Food for Kids

Since Little Guy started kindergarten his eating behaviour has really changed. He's kicked the morning tea habit (they only eat lunch at kindy). He's stopped wanting snacks all the time which makes me think he often used to mistake boredom with hunger.

I often examine their lunch menus. Their meals include rice, noodles or some kind of bread roll. There's an abundance of vegetables; all kinds of meat and fish; clear soups; beans and other legumes; seaweed. Occasionally they're given a piece of seasonal fruit or a Japanese sweet for a special occasion. The dairy component is a bottle of milk.

It's all calorie-tracked and analysed for fat content, protein and calcium. It seems to be perfectly balanced. Both of my kids are completely satisfied after eating and remain that way for several hours.

I make Little Guy's lunch twice a week, a bento. It is inspected by his teacher. It must include vegetables.

The image above is part of the new initiative on the part of the US government to improve kids' (and adults') eating habits. It's a wonderful graphic, an updated version of the food pyramid.

I still wonder if it's going to fall on deaf ears. My friend in New Zealand and I were talking last week about the kids' lunchboxes. She'd been on a class-trip with her daughter and was shocked to see how many little packets of artifical colors, perservatives, high-calorie, high-sugar food each kid had. It's become way too convenient to stock the pantry with these quick bites for the kids. I'm guilty of it myself but I am fairly certain I buy much less of it living here than I would at home. And since it can't be sent to school with them it's really just for weekend treats or perhaps after school.

Any thoughts?

images from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ via Li'l Magoolie.

4 comments:

  1. I recently read this article
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060721f1.html
    and it made me re-think about the food we eat, we don't buy that much pre made food but what we do we have started to check what they put in and it makes you cringe!
    DH bought the guys book and we have started making changes but we still have to stick to a budget which makes cutting out all processed foods difficult!

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  2. Oh Jacqui, I feel so strongly on this topic I almost have to write a whole essay to comment. While the message is trying to get out there about what we should be feeding our children, the reality of the busy mums and dads reaching for convenient food because they are so time deficient, is not going away.
    When I think about what to feed my little ones I go back to what my mum fed me when I was a kid and that included NONE of the packaged items that are available today. When I was a kid, the only treat we would have would be a home baked cake which contained nothing else but flour, eggs, milk and sugar. So I try to protect my kids as much as I can, while I can, from the very processed foods that surround us. I am definitely the playgroup mummy grinch who was shocked to find on "party day" (once a term) all the crap (and sorry i couldn't find nicer word) that mums had brought along for the kids to eat. I witnessed a 9 and a half month old baby munching on salty potato chips!!!! fortunately my kids didn't know what half the stuff was and just had a biscuit or two. Look, I am not perfect by any means and I too have a stash of tiny teddy biscuits in the cupboard for emergency meltdowns in the supermarket or very special treats. But people also often comment how calm my kids seem and I wonder if it partly to do with the fact they are not overloaded with sugar and additives. Also have to wonder about all the allergies and food disorders that exist nowadays.
    I really would love to see all that kind of "food" removed from supermarkets.At least in Japan you can go to a convenience store and buy a rice ball for fast food. As much as I have probably complained to you about all the things I would not be happy with in the Japanese education system, it sounds like they have it right when it comes to food!
    That food diagram looks great but I think they should also give an indication of how small that plate should be!
    Enough said.
    (*o*)/

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  3. Hi Claire, I agree with what you are saying, it makes me cringe when I see tiny tots few chewy candies or hard boiled sweets! and as for the rice balls, they are not as healthy as you think (read the above link)

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  4. Aah, thanks for the link - should have read that one before I made that ignorant comment! Who would have known a humble rice ball could be full of so many additives!

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