As we consider how to help our kids get healthier, we need to look at some of the latest trends, such as school vending machine bans. The reality is that the childhood obesity epidemic is very real and getting worse, so the methods that we take to ensure our kids beat it matter greatly. This ban is only one of many methods that have been attempted to help our kids be healthier, but is it enough?
We know that what our kids eat throughout the day matters greatly, and this is just one step. We need to reinforce this with healthy habits at home, and perhaps that’s not happening as much as it should. No matter what, it’s time to look at every step of the process to help our kids be their best.
As health officials looked at ways to help our youths to be their best, the school vending machine bans have often been a first step. The idea was that, if our kids don’t have access to unhealthy foods, they won’t be tempted to make the wrong choices. The only way that this really works, however, is if there are healthy foods offered as alternatives in the cafeteria. Offering a salad bar and healthy sides such as fruit, or looking at the types of meals offered overall, is therefore crucial. If you don’t have the junk foods found in most vending machines and you instead offer healthier options, then you are counteracting the obesity epidemic in the best possible way.
Good Habits Are Still Needed
When you look at school vending machine bans, realize that they are only going to work well if the parents help to reinforce healthy habits at home. That means that they offer their kids healthy options in their lunches and snacks. Getting rid of the vending machines is easy enough, but parents need to offer their kids healthy options as well. Fruits and vegetables, and other healthy snacks such as raisins, trail mix, and nuts, are the way to go. This all starts at home, for if the kids learn healthy habits and are accustomed to making wise food choices, including treats in moderation, then they will make better choices throughout the day.
The school vending machine bans are only one of many important steps that must be taken to help our kids get healthier. This means that the school lunch program offers healthy entrees and side dishes overall. It means that the junk foods that once littered the cafeteria are moved out. When kids have the option to eat healthier, they will, but only if you get rid of the junk that can hold them back. It’s not always easy, but if you make the options at home and school healthier, that’s a great start. Remember that good nutrition starts at home, and the cafeteria should supplement those efforts to make healthy habits stick once and for all.