Last night I watched the debut of Jamie Oliver’s new show, Food Revolution. He’ll be spending the season in Huntington, West Virginia – named the unhealthiest city in the US for its high rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes – working with schools and residents to improve their diets. I am not sure which scene made the bigger impression : the one in which Jamie is scraping school lunch trays into a garbage can (I can’t stand to throw away food – whole apples!) or the one in which he cooks and piles on a table a week’s worth of the junky food that one resident fed her family. Gross!
It got me thinking about the junky food in my kid’s – especially B’s – diets. Dinner is almost always free of anything that is not from scratch. It doesn’t always happen, but I shoot to make half the plate fruits and vegetables, a quarter starch, and a quarter protein. Last night’s dinner fit the bill almost perfectly: pan-grilled salmon with caramelized leeks, basmati rice, and a salad with a little whole what baguette on the side. Sure that could have been brown rather than white rice, but otherwise I don’t think there’s much room for improvement there. Breakfast served by DH this morning is another matter. DH makes somewhat elaborate breakfasts for school mornings: egg and cheese wraps, ham and cheese omelets, French toast, and so on. B is a bit of a bear in the morning, and not much of a breakfast person. I’m tired of listening to him and DH squabble before I’m even out of bed, so I’ve been negotiating with B about breakfast. The current deal is that he can have a bowl of (junky) cereal and a little protein with a piece of fruit. Today he had a bowl of Fruit Loops (bad), smoked sausage (not the greatest) and sliced apple. W, on the other hand, loves breakfast had a ridiculous quantity of mostly healthy food: 4 pieces of raisin toast, smoked sausage, yogurt, pineapple and a glass of skim milk.
I started several years ago making the kids lunches every morning because they weren’t eating much of the school lunch (hello big garbage can). W has always been somewhat flexible about his lunch. Today he has a PB&J on wheat, sliced apple and a yogurt (good) as well as sour cream and onion potato chips and a mini-sized Kit Kat bar (not so good). He has been knows to skip the chips and leave the candy bar in his lunch box. B is harder to please. Today he has leftover barbecued chicken and sliced apple (good) with the chips and candy bar (not so good). He took one of those Roaring Waters drinks, which I’ve read is a better choice than most of those drink packs. If he leaves anything in his lunch box, it will be the apple.
Clearly Jamie Oliver is up against way more than this, but we still room for improvement: a better choice of cereal, limit the smoked sausage, and wheat thins or pretzels in place of the chips. I really like having a little something sweet after a meal, so I’m not sure what to do about dessert.