Children Eating Habits: Helping the Younger Generation

Children Eating Habits: Helping the Younger Generation

A Story by Sandra K


About every month, my family and friends get together and enjoy eating a well
cooked meal. Variety comes into play when various types of food are set on our kitchen
table. Smoked and baked chicken, smoked BBQ ribs, creamy mash potatoes, shrimp, and
olives, corn, and a large variety of beverages in two different coolers. Just to name a little
bit that is on our normal dinner menu. As I think about my childhood, the variety of food
and how food plays a role in the home, has help myself and my family get where we are
When my step- dad came into our family, he presented himself as a chef. He has
taught my brothers and I, basic lessons of cooking and how to maintain a healthy diet.
When I was twelve years old, I first learn how to cook enchiladas, that is now my very own
specialty. He taught us not to turn our noses up at new things, and that includes food. I
have tried such exotic foods like cactus and squid. Sea food is not my main entrée, but I
am willing to give it a taste.  Now, as an adult, I have learned the basic ingredient for a
healthy life, and I can do it in a costly manner too.
Children develop basic learning habits, at a young age. As a child gets older habits are
more difficult to change.  One important habit a child should develop is a regular healthy
eating habit. “According to the world health organization, there are one billion overweight
and 300 million obese adults around the globe (32, Martin). When our little young ones,
grow and becomes an adult, they will carry their weight with them but weight is not the
worst case scenario of an unhealthy diet. Other consequence can occur. “Diabetes,
hypertension, and other obesity related chronic diseases that are prevalent among adults
have now become more common youngsters (American Obesity Association; AOA). In
other words, children are being diagnosed with illnesses and diseases that adults get when
they grow older and worn out. The AOA reports; before 1992, 2 to 4 percent of
children were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In 1994, the percent skyrocketed to 16
percent. The amount of sugar in a 20 fluid ounce Pepsi bottle contains 69 grams; when a
bottle of Aquafina contains zero. Just read the labels. A child should be consuming water
and not 69 grams of unnatural sugars. Insulin,and low blood pressure is just one factor to be
concerned about. A child’s body is growing and calcium is needed to make their bones
strong and sturdy to last them for the next eighty to ninety years of their life. With excess
weight that their bones are not built to carry,” a variety of orthopedic complications occur
in children and adolescents with obesity. In much younger children, excess weight can lead
to bowing and overgrowth of leg bones” (AOA). With these few startling facts, that can
happen to your pride and joy, there are many ways to prevent these scary health facts.
Your new born is feed every three to four hours a day receiving iron from mother’s
milk and/ or from formula. As your baby gets bigger, the nutrient he or she needs changes
too. There are resources that are available for you to learn how to feed your children
right. Don’t know where to start? Kids Health is an excellent website that provides endless
amounts of information, on what to eat while your going through your pregnancy and
coloring pagers for your five year old, even lesson plans for teachers. This site provides
information to get your children involved in healthy dieting and make it a daily routine
One of the first steps the sites suggest is family meals. I ask four families how often
they eat at the dinner table together. The Benisch family has five kids. Their oldest is a 
teenager and their youngest is two. Family dinning is encouraged and happens five times a
week. The Emrick family has one nine year old daughter; their family has never sat at the
dinner table together. Kids Health suggests: “Family meals are a comforting ritual for both
parents and kids. Children like the predictability of family meals and parents get a chance
to catch up their kids” (Gavin). The site also says, that children are more likely to in take
fruits, veggies, and grains and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Kids health also
implies that eating together as a family will give your children a chance to try new foods,
(like squid and cactus) and will put you in the place as a role model for your children. 
“What if my teen turns his/her nose up at the idea of family dining?” Well, Kids Health
even provides tips to encourage your teen to join at your dinner table. Have your teen
invite a friend (or a date) over to have dinner with your family. Involve them in food 
preparation or even give them a “mini” cooking lesson. Make it enjoyable for both
parties. Kids Health says, arguing and lecturing are two things that should not be included
in meal times. There are another time and place for that kind of interaction. Your teen
wants to establish independence and at the same time, he/ she wants your advice and
counsel. This will make the attempt easier for both the parent and child.
            Aside from getting your children involved in the eating process, the food that they
eat is just as important. Younger children will eat what is available at home. Control is
important and this is where is comes into play. Kids Health suggests many types of tips for
a house full of kids. Keep fruits and veggies in the home and make it a snack routine. 
Apple slices and, grapes make an excellent replacement for those bags of chips. Limit the
amount of carbs your children takes in. Kids Health also says to include fruit and veggies
in every meal if possible. Make it easy and fun for your child too. Switch up the routine
and add some variety. Baby carrots, or celery are great snacks too. Fro the hot Arizona
months that are coming, watermelon and strawberries are great for out- of- the- pool
snacks. Fruits and veggies are not the only important ingredient, different kinds of meats,
like chicken, pork, beef and fish provide a good source of protein. Eggs, beans, and nuts
also do the same for those who are vegetarians.
“Your child needs nutrients to grow strong and healthy, but you also have to limit
treats and serving sizes”( Homier). Limitations are important. Fast food is not the
healthiest form of food around. It maybe quick and easy; I bet it is better than standing in
front of a hot stove on a stressful day, but limit the eating Taco Bell or Jack-in –the- Box
to at least once a week. It is healthier than consuming it five times a week. Soda and any
drink that has large amounts of sugar should be consumed to once a week too. The Willis
Family allows her three girls to drink soda once maybe twice a week, depending on
behavior. Water and juices are kept in the home.
            “The U.S department of Agriculture (USDA) has created dietary guidelines to
provide practical advice on how to give your child a healthy, balanced diet. 
Recommendations are tailored for kids based on age and gender and exercise
habits.”(Homier). Grains are foods, like breads, cereal, rice and pasta. These provide your
child with most of the energy he/she needs everyday. These types of foods are high in
carbohydrates and are the body’s favorite fuel. It gives your child the energy to play, pay
attention in school and to participate in extra curricular activities. It also provides your
child with Vitamin B-complex. The grains your child should be consuming are whole
grains. Oatmeal, brown rice and rye bread are considered whole grains. These protect
your children from heart disease and diabetes, along with your child’s weight. Vegetables
provide many of the vitamins and minerals your kids need to have good health. Fiber and
good digestion come from consuming veggies. Fruits provide important vitamins like A and
C. It also adds minerals such as potassium and fiber, which also helps with digestion. As
we all know diary provides us to help our kids grow strong and tall. It also provides us
with the healthy bones and teeth, muscle and nerve function too. Vitamin A which is in
dairy products helps strength natural beauty too
Proteins is important in your child’s diet . Protein help your child maintain and repair body
tissue and build stronger healthier muscles. Have any dancers or football player in your
house? Protein, along with the other food groups provide your child with the B-complex
and iron, to provide limited amount of broken bones, and strong muscles. “ Sugars are
quickly absorbed into the blood stream and provide your child a quick does of energy”
(Homier). These should be limited, because they body will store it as fat. . (see for more information about these topic.)
Aside from what your children eat at home, what do your kids eat at school? I
talked to the dietitians for Mesa Public Schools, Karin Pryor. She informed me on many
different websites (, laws that the schools have to follow to feed their students. On the
Mesa Public Schools website, is a calendar that has the food that is served for that month.
For the month of May, the menu shows what is being served for breakfast, and lunch.
Tasty foods like scrambled eggs for breakfast and raviolis for lunch. Yum, sounds like your 
kiddos are getting the proper nutrition needed. Along are the side of the calendar are silly
tips to encourage your student to eat healthy. Mrs. Pryor also informed me that the food
they serve have to be three out of the five food groups. Whatever your child does not get
at school can be served for dinner. I also asked her what kinds and types of food are not
allowed to be brought to school. She simply stated that the schools can not control what
the student brings from home, but any food served to a class must be store bought. “A
state law passed in 2005 mandated state wide nutrition guidelines for K-8 schools.
However the state law applies only to food sold at schools, not to parties” (Wells). I
continued to browse the website, Mrs. Pryor sent me to, the schools have to serve 1/3 or
a child’s Recommended Daily Allowance for calories , protein, Vitamin A and C and iron
and calcium at lunch and ¼ of these have to be severed for breakfast. The website
( for the Arizona Department of Education a main site, Mrs. Pryor has
directed me to, has a list of healthy safety procedure they have to follow. Each lunch lady
(any one working with food as a matter of fact) has to have a food handlers card under
Maricopa’s county law.
As you can see, we are all working together to provide the younger generation
with a healthy meal, top grow up to be well productive adults in our society. “We need to
talk to our parents about not just what they feed their children. Simple steps like family
meal times, active play and respecting a child’s natural hunger and fullness cues help
children thrive while maintaining a healthy weight. Certainly prevention is alto easier than
And it is. Just a simple steps is all it takes. Effort pays off . There are many ways to
get your child involved in a healthy diet. Plan and grow a vegetable garden together and
eat our home grown veggies, or take a cooking class together, and try new exotic foods,
my dad and I did. We spent an entire day in San Francisco together. We took Bart to up
to the city and home again. When lunch time, came my favorite food was Mexican,
anything Mexican, so we ate at a tiny Mexican shop. At the time we knew we were
planning our move to Arizona, so we made the event fun and threw in some Arizona into
the plate and had cactus too. We created and unforgettable memory, trying new foods and
getting to know one another. I believe that is worth the effort.
            Children get older and more freedom comes more choices, and a nice home
cooked meal, will have them crawling back to your kitchen table for their first Thanksgiving
Dinner, during their college school years. Of course they will tell their friends how their
mother can make the best mash potatoes in the entire world. They maybe encourage to
teach their children the same thing you are teaching them now.
            Food bring comfort, and trust too. I have learned this from personal experience.
My step-dad was the one who to immediate interest in my health and diet. I’m not sick in
any way, but I can pack on a lot of weight through the genetics. I have learned a lot in the
last eight years he has been in my life. I am excited and feel well experienced when it
comes to what goes in the kitchen. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to teach my
children the same thing he has taught me about eating healthy. I have learned of recipes
and today we invent more. Our friends never miss a gathering, so the can indulged in the
tasty smoked food that is there to be offer. Food can be a sacred thing, just like parting of
the bread and wine during church. In a way, you can call our gathering a religious act. 
My brother and I grateful for the good thing he has brought to us, and the bodies that we
have now. It has help us participate in school sports like , football, swim Marching Band,
and dance. That’s why in the long dinner course of nine years, his title has change from
chef, to Dad. I hope your family will have a great memory created by food as much as
mine has.
Self Evaluation:
I know this essay was suppose to be eight pages or longer. I did have the time to plan this essay. This semester I have learned more than I had anticipated. Not only did I learn about writing, which is something I love and want a career in, but I also learned about myself and my family. Food too. The process to write this paper has been and interesting one. I have learned a lot about Fast food through fast food nation. I want to write a book that is just as informative as Fast Food Nation, was. I have done the steps of reading, the book, presenting it in class. I tied children to it because I plan on becoming a teacher. I learned about eating healthy and I have started to, too. I have lost weight the mile I walk to school and the mile from school. I have had some conflicts with my throughout this semester. Building trust, love and respect. I have learned how to give it, and have learned that I should receive it from him, as a parent and give it to myself before I demand it from anyone else.   This paper would have been much difficult to write about if didn’t include our memories in it. It has brought meaning to my paper, I hope at least, and it is a primary example for my readers to see what has been gain from sharing a day or even an hour together. I’m sorry for not meeting the standard, you asked, but I was willing to put a full days time into it. Thank you for teaching me what your class had to offer Dr. Anderson. I am looking forward to your creative writing class.
Sandra Gustafson.

© 2008 Sandra K

Author's Note

Sandra K
This was my Eng 102 english finial. I thought i would just post it. Please ingnore the spaceing and such, i know it is off, it will take awhile to fix it.

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Lol yeah I was going to say something about the spacing. Anyway, nice job, this is informative, and an important issue. Thanks for sharing!


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Added on May 6, 2008
Last Updated on May 6, 2008


Sandra K
Sandra K

Valley of the Sun, AZ

Hello! I am Sandra Gustafson. I am in my early twenties. I am a mother to a beautiful little boy, who stole my heart and will keep it forever. I am open minded young woman. I have been told I am wise.. more..