Fruits, Vegetables, and Controversy
I looked up the word “food” in Google News today, and one of the first results was titled, “Is Jellyfish the New Brain Food?” I have to speculate, what became of all the other brain foods? and what is “brain food,” anyway? I suppose I’d have to read the article to find out, but I think I’d just end up with a headache. It does serve to raise an interesting question, however, and since this is Fruits and Veggies month, I wanted to know when eating an apple a day stopped being enough.
As a brief Internet search revealed, it never really was enough anyway. An average diet should consist of 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day. Statistics, however, show that fewer than 1 in 7 adults eats enough fruit, and not even 1 in 10 adults eats enough vegetables! While we grown-ups might feel a bit guilty about not watching our diets the way we ought to, the ramifications become more startling when we look at statistics regarding children’s diets–only 4 in 10 children are eating enough fruit, and fewer than 1 in 10 are eating enough vegetables. When we consider that, according to the study linked previously, “childhood dietary patterns are associated with food patterns later in life,” we find ourselves with a fairly unhealthy outlook for the next generation.
If this seems like a lot of pressure on parents to rethink what they’re putting on the kitchen table every day, it is. This pressure, however, is compounded by the fact that parents may not have any idea what’s healthy for their kids and what’s not! Well-meaning parents might get the same search result I did from Google and end up serving their kids jellyfish spread on a sandwich! Granted, it’s unlikely anyone would go to such an extreme, but it helps to show how difficult it might be for someone trying to educate themselves on how to provide a balanced diet for their family.
One challenge parents face is finding ways to fit a healthy diet into their budget. The Internet is full of sensational articles about the dangers of GMO, pesticides, and other common practices in modern food, and parents may think they need to spend an arm and a leg to buy organic food just to keep their families healthy. However, by using reliable resources online, parents can find all the information they need to make affordable, healthy choices for their families. Websites such as choosmyplate.gov, where parents can find advice on how to plan meals ahead of time to save money while being conscious of nutrition; and blogs by the USDA are reliable sources of information that parents can use to make choices that are healthy and easy on their budgets.
I don’t think there’s any question that parents want to do what’s best for their children, but it’s difficult to know how to strike a balance between health and affordability when sifting through the deluge of information that a Google search for something as simple as “food” returns. These days, it seems like food isn’t really that simple after all. But by using reliable, trusted resources, parents can give their families the nutrition they need and stay within their budget.