If we taught our children about food and healthy eating with the same importance as we teach them to read and write; can you imagine what a different world it would be? This teaching should not just be about the basic food pyramid, but an in-depth understanding of nutrition and the processes in the body. They should learn about the nutrients in natural foods, and why they are so important. This will help them to realise what processed foods are missing, why junk food and sugar is so bad for health and they will learn what they need in terms of nutrition and staying healthy through all life stages.
The giant fast food companies would be just normal businesses, not megaliths that destroy so much of the environment and our children’s health. There would be less obesity, less cancer, less heart disease and diabetes would be a condition that affects much fewer people. Perhaps mental health problems and addictions would be less prolific and maybe there would be better well-being and happiness. It’s not just a dream, but it would be a huge challenge to get it past the politics of food in the West, where so much money is made from bad foods and sickness. There are many cynics out there that do not believe that diet has such a big effect on health, but I think the public have the intelligence to work out what is true and this is why there is so much more demand for healthier alternatives and healthy recipe books. At the same time people don’t want to be told what to eat, but if children knew about good nutrition from an early age, they would choose what to eat as they mature based on their knowledge. (My children are shining examples!) Should I even mention the benefits for the NHS? If you think about it in those terms it seems incredible that the government doesn’t make it a priority!
Consider what physical ‘health’ is: Having a healthy body that is energetic and vital ALL through your life. No matter what you are doing, diet has an affect on all aspects of your life including mental health and ability to work and enjoy life. Once we are in our teens, our 20s, our 30s and so on, it becomes much, much harder to make changes and for some almost impossible. We are so emotionally attached to our foods, that it makes giving them up or eating them in a much-reduced way almost like a grieving process. It is when many people get into their 40s and 50s that they realise they must do something about their diet. This new attitude could be triggered due to a health issue, minor or major, that perhaps may never have occurred if they had been eating healthily since they were young and had had more of an understanding of the importance of nutrition.
Teaching children about nutrition and health, not just as a project – but a subject would be as much of a gift as teaching them to read and write.
That being said, it is never too late to learn about good nutrition and make dietary changes.