So this week I have been teaching 30 minute nutrition lessons to my students. Kindergarten through 5th grade. There is so much I want to explain to them and very little time. I tell them to eat whole foods, things that grow from soil, and to avoid food in a box and fast food. But, really? They don’t purchase their own food. So, at the beginning of the week, I am telling them this, and by Thursday I am challenging them to refuse to eat fast food, even if their parents take them there. I can hear the words coming out of my mouth and I am thinking I don’t care if parents get mad. In fact, I almost hope they call and complain. Think how this conversation will go with my principal. “Your P.E teacher is telling my child to eat healthy and to stop eating at fast food restaurants!” and my principal would say, “Great!” and the parent would be speechless and realize how absurd this sounds. And, in my magical, imaginary world, they would pause with self-reflection, and stop eating at fast food restaurants!
Who am I kidding? I don’t know. But, if I don’t believe it could happen, probably no one will. I will preach and preach about how to prevent disease. And how preventable the most common diseases are. And if parents don’t like it…how can they argue against it?
Back to my lesson with my students…When I am showing them websites that list nutritional information about fast food, they are so shocked and amazed that a cheeseburger and fries has all of the fat grams you are allowed for the whole day. They cannot believe it. Their faces look like I just told them that Santa isn’t real. And forgot about it when I tell them that soda contains too much sugar and too many chemicals to be healthy. They can hardly take it. Some of them drink soda with every meal. I tell them to drink water. They want to negotiate, so they suggest koolaid. No, I say, too much sugar. Juice, they counter. I stand firm–water with your meals. 5 years old, 10 years old and every year between. I could feel hopeless for the future of our children. But, it just motivates me. It fuels me to continue with my healthy quest. To teach the children of the world that eating healthy will bring them many rewards. Which brings me to another subject for another day….Why do they need a reward for simply taking care of themselves?