Degreed Food and Nutrition Education Specialist, Certified Diabetes Peer Educator, Motivational Speaker
Balanced By Burton, Owner
Many people seem to overlook the importance food and nutrition has on an individual’s health and wellness at the earliest stages of development in life. Over the years, parents ask me the same question. How do I teach my child to eat healthily? The honest answer is, it all starts with you at home and what you know. In these times of food budget cuts and slashing of food assistance programs, parents have to take personal responsibility to teach their children about the importance of food and nutrition as it pertains to their child’s health.
It is just as important as teaching them to take care of their maintaining their bodies. Food and nutrition matter, it affects their growth and well-being. What they put in or what they lack daily in nutrients makes a difference in their performance physically and mentally, both at school and play. Teaching the basics of healthy and smart food choices in food and nutrition is essential education to keep our children safe and healthy. It takes parents time to learn and be willing to be educated on the topic to help your family have a good start.
As a former (WIC) Woman, Infant and Children Nutrition Program Director in the North Carolina system, it is imperative to think about the short-term and long-term consequences of the future of our youth. With today’s News Headlines that read, “SNAP Budget Cuts” and Elimination of Food Assistance” one can only wonder what and how children will make it and at what price will they pay? What price will we pay for the future health costs of these little ones?
It is important to think about budget cuts and implications of those that live in rural “Food Deserts” and have “Food Insecurities .” What will happen to the health status of these children 5, 10, 15 years down the road? What does the future health of these children look like, when they are growing up disadvantaged because they are hungry at school? The latest state statistics:
” 1 in 5 North Carolina children face food insecurity each day, which threatens their well-being and life outcomes. Nationally, North Carolina is the 8th most food insecure state in the country, with 1 out of every six households being food insecure – meaning these families do not access to food, which is needed to ensure their child is healthy, academically successful, and has sufficient early childhood development. “
The incidences of children that have this disease have also increased. What are school health protocols in place for parents and children for this disease, as well as, those with allergies and other food related issues? Budget cuts to Food Programs compromise our most vulnerable; both the young and old their health becomes more at risk. Here are a few tips communities can do to help families:
- Organize and support families that are in need of food with young children this summer. No child should be hungry in local communities. See if there is a summer meal program available this summer in your local area.
- Organize a “Meal Train” in your community. Work within your community to cook meals and exchange information on how to help each other in your neighborhood and invite everyone to participate.
- Check to see if there are any local food support groups, or create food support groups for the young and elders in your neighborhood to make sure nobody goes hungry.