With the increasing reports about the childhood obesity epidemic, the high-sugary, high-fatty food manufacturers are jumping quickly on the bandwagon to position themselves as advocates for healthier eating with new healthier foods and advertising policies. Which is great, right?
But I was reading a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr Ludwig, a pediatrician from Children's Hospital in Boston who has followed the food industry for many years. He shares information about their marketing practices that they do not want us to know.
Okay, I have reviewed his concerns and have added my own TIPs to help you. Because in the end, that is what this is all about. We want to take information and make it useful to help us make better nutrition decisions for our family. With this in mind, let's take a look at his list:
TIP: Limit the time in front of TV and use commercials and shopping events to educate your kids. Help kids see the fun and joy of eating healthy foods. You are their biggest commercial with the most influence.
TIP: These food manufacturers have deep pockets and organizations need support. It is not uncommon for corporations to fund organizations that have leaders in the field they are marketing in. Reputable organizations have clearly stated policies about sponsorship and advertising and will not endorse companies based on funding. You should be able to find them easily in the footer of their website.
TIP: No surprises here. Whenever possible, go fresh foods. The more processed the food is, the more nutrients are stripped away AND the more sugars, salt, fat and other less healthy substances are added to the foods.
TIP: Again, stick with fresh foods and GO BROWN when it comes to grains. Look for whole 100% grains. Fruits, vegetables and grain foods are filled with fiber that help fill you up. Fiber also helps your arteries stay clean by lower cholesterol. When it is processed, foods like white bread, white rice, and even fruit juices and applesauce, have lost all the fiber, stripped away during processing.
TIP: Again, read the food labels. See what you are actually getting. I was going to by the "lowfat" Peanut Butter because I wanted less calories. But then I looked at the label and was surprised that yes, it had less fat but it had more sugar. So I was not really saving on the calories at all. BUT, I would have thought that because I read the claim and made an assumption. So don't be fooled, read the label to see what you are feeding your kids.
TIP: Yes, we can agree with that. That is why our dietitians are taking topics each month and trying to simplify them and give you specific suggestions to help you make healthier choices for your family. We use the five food groups and a balance meal to help break it down. Click here to read this month's article about Health Claims. We have a handy health claims food guide that you can print out and take to the grocery store that helps you understand what the food claims mean.
TIP: Are we surprised by this? Of course, they will be supporting, funding, political groups to fight legislation that will diminish their profits. Politics, it is everywhere. But, it does not change the fact that we have total control over what foods are bought and promoted in our own household. We have to take responsibility to teach our children about healthy eating and healthy choices. Parents, you are still the greatest political influence in your child's life!