Child Obesity, Bullys and School Lunch: The Secret Ingredient. (Includes recipes)
Guest Post by Randi Levin
Hey Mom and Dad, you want to know a secret!
Now know that it is an important secret, passed down by generations of times long gone but not forgotten. In fact, it can be shared, laughed over, cried over, hugged over and bonded over. And it is the only effective long lasting real and the easiest solution to Childhood Obesity. You see the secret ingredient to avoiding; preventing and overcoming childhood obesity is your love.
Only you can make positive changes that will induce and maintain weight loss, promote more smiles and make new ones while sharing memories of days past. Therefore, as a new school year has begun, why not add some of that fabulous love into each and every day. Lunchtime provides a special time to remind your kids of that love. This time of day is a great opportunity to share the warmth when the kids minds are filled with the wonders of new information and their bodies need to be reloaded with energy to help get them through those afternoon lessons.
As a teacher I often got to watch over the students during lunchtime. Sure cafeteria provides a decent meal, but for some kids lunchtime can be a short horror. In fact, some students dredge lining up for the cafeteria’s food. Why you may ask, they must be hungry and school food is improving all the time so why would a young child hesitate or dredge lining up for lunch. Lunch helps regenerate their brains, and sometimes it tastes really good too. So what’s going on in that lunch line?
Bullying is what’s going on in that lunch line! Intentionally mean comments and teasing happens within the confines of that lunch line. Bullys get their ego fixes in that lunch line (else where too) while picking on, teasing, stealing from and putting down another in an effort to make themselves feel falsely powerful. And if your child is fat, flabby and/or obese then they are prime targets for these Bullys to get their fix.
Sure there might be some of you Moms and Dads reading this thinking “Well why aren’t the teachers doing anything about this?” In answer because most of the time they don’t see it and most students do not want to be tattletales! However please know that when they do see Bullying most of the time a teacher will interfere and redirect the Bully to go elsewhere. Sure the teachers have an obligation to keep all students safe while in school. Yet teachers are not the parents, they are teachers and their purpose is to teach academics and subjects related to learning about Health, Physical Education, Art and Music while instituting childhood responsibilities i.e. homework. Yet teachers are not there to raise your children to become a healthy productive adult; that’s your role that you take on as soon as you decide to have a baby. So as parents what can YOU do to help prevent Bullys from using your overweight child as a target to release their personal frustration and insecurities on?
The options in front of you vary. You can take the defensive route and teach your kids how to fight back, yet this can end up as counter productive. You can teach your kids to ignore those Bullys, and sure this helps in the long run but until the Bully gets the message they continue to toss out painful words in the direction of your child. (Keep in mind that sometimes overweight or potentially children will comfort this pain and intentional hurt with junk food.) Or you take the offensive route and be productive in building confidence in your child while providing healthful love filled foods to help build confidence when responding to those Bullys in effort to “Shut Them Up’”
You see the secret ingredient for helping your child overcome childhood obesity, also helps keeps Bullys at bay. Through your love you can prepare a healthful lunch for your child to take to school. This lunch can be filled with some edible, yet healthful favorite foods and notes of love. Yes, you can bet those Bullys may initially pick, so be aware that you can add a note of reminding your child how to respond when the nit picking begins. For instance:
“I got the good stuff in this bag/box—what have you got? Nothin? Well come on over, I’ll share!” (Yes Mom and Dad the Bully may be so shocked at these words that the bullying stops and a friendship begins.)
“Eating healthy makes me cool, while all that junk food only makes you act like a fool! And I want to be healthy and cool, rather than a junk food fool!” (Of course no one wants to be called a fool, and these words may just get that Bully to think about what he/she is doing and ultimately stop bullying.)
By the way for all you Moms and Dads who are a bit stressed, overworked and financially struggling please recognize that a homemade lunch can cost less than a school prepared meal. Sure initially homemade may appear to cost more, yet when you break down the prices it ultimately costs less. On those cold frigid days of winter a thermos helps keep soups stews and chili hot and on the warmer days as long as the lunch is not stored by a heater or in direct sun the food within should remain fresh until lunchtime. However cool packs do help.
For the moms/dads who cannot think of some fabulously scrumptious ideas for the lunch box/sack I got a couple favorites to help below that have been enjoyed and passed on through generations; for they are simply but treasured. Also know that little containers of yogurt, butter spreads and sour cream can be cleaned, reused and make wonderful containers to fill with yogurts, salads and chopped fruits etc. in. And recognize that one of the best parts of getting your kids to bring a boxed/bagged lunch to school is that it contains that wonderfully fabulous secret ingredient, LOVE. Your love will not just help them overcome childhood with healthful offerings, but will offer your child the strength to help them deal with the meanest of all the Bullys.
TIP: A piece of fresh fruit, yogurt, 2 homemade cookies, homemade Fruit Crisp or Fruit Gobble can also be added. So can about 10 homemade chips (potato, corn or pita). Fruit salad is also an option to add to the lunch, as is a small leafy salad if the child likes and wants.
Nutter Butter Sandwiches:
1. Two slices whole wheat or whole grain bread (cut the edges off for the little ones)
2. Spread 2 tablespoons or less peanut butter onto 1 slice of bread and then spread it gently and evenly over one slice of bread.
3. Slice 1 medium-length celery rib into 3-4 pieces and then slice each into 2-3 little sticks.
4. Sprinkle a tablespoon or less of raisins or dried cherries (previously soaked and patted dry to plump up the dried fruit) on top of the peanut butter, and then place the celery sticks, inside down, evenly across the dried fruit and top with the remaining bread slice.
5. Wrap the sandwich up in clear plastic film/wrap and store in the refrigerator until leaving for school.
Ham And Cheese Wraps:
2 large curly tipped or bib leaves of lettuce or spinach
4 ounces of sliced ham
1-2 slices of Munster, provolone, and Swiss or Colby cheese
A couple thin tomato and/or cucumber slices—optional
1. Place 2 slices oh ham on top of each leaf.
2. Place a slice of cheese on top of the ham, and add veggies of choice if using. IF using mustard and/or mayo spread a very small amount on top of the cheese prior to adding the veggies.
3. Beginning at top of each leaf, roll all the foods up within the leaf as if it was a burrito, tucking the edges in as you roll.
4. Store these rolls in a small plastic baggie or container and store in the refrigerator until packaging for lunch.
HINT: Some slice grapes or thinly sliced cucumbers can also be added and wrapped between the meat and cheese for a specially designed edible delight!
Internationally awarded Author and Publisher, Randi Levin, commonly known as The Muffin Lady, was raised in Philadelphia where she would often watch, help and taste the goodies that her Grandmothers’ and mother would cook and bake. Upon graduating from High School she moved to Colorado and acquired advanced degrees in Education and Psychology. Randi spent many years helping children and the occasional parents overcome issues, disorders and disabilities. And then one day life tossed her a hard ball, a medical disorder which ended her beloved career due to liability issues.
After several surgeries, upon the advice of a kind neighbor, Randi began baking and distributing her treats around Evergreen, Colorado, to the delight of all. The local Postal Service Employees began calling her The Muffin Lady and as the years passed new flavors and recipes were delightfully developed. As the time passed, too many of her customers began to persistently request her recipes and her baking tips for culinary success at high altitude. In response she wrote and published her first cookbook: Baking at High Altitude. This book was entered in Colorado Independent Publishers Awards, and won. She then entered the book into cookbook contest and a few months later in Orebro Sweden, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards awarded it “Best First Cookbook in the World”. Recently this same book, has received an honorary mention as one of the “BEST of the BEST Cookbooks in the World”, by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Fortunately for the palates of many, the persistent requests for more of her recipes inspired another cookbook: Sharing Mountain Recipes. Although sales of these books have been grand, she felt she needed to contribute her skills and experiences in effort to help combat Childhood Obesity. Thus she dug deep into her formal training education and many experiences helping children and families overcome (including children suffering from Eating Disorders) and wrote another cookbook, Love More Feed Less. This new book has been said to take parents by the hand while guiding them toward making more beneficial choices for their children and families with ease, flavor and affordability.