The Tower of Cheese Balls and Grocery Intervention

presented by cj

so, for those of you that don’t know, i own a franchise with a company called stretch-n-grow. sng is a children’s fitness and nutrition education program that partners with preschools, day cares, elementary schools, basically anywhere where there is a group of children, to teach them how to exercise and eat healthy. we teach 45 minute exercise classes to schoolers, 30 minute exercise classes to 3-5 year olds, and 20 minute exercise classes to 18 month-2 year olds (yes we start them at 18 months. ask me about that later-it’s not the point of this story). we also offer specialty programs like dance (which is how i got started with this company), sports, cheerleading, field days, anything active. as you can imagine, being healthy is important to me and jonathan as well. we work out, eat healthy, and expect to train our kids in the same way. childhood obesity (and obesity in general) in this country is deathly and on the rise. did you know that for the first time in 200 years, children have a lower life expectancy than their parents? they spend 85% of their time sedentary and should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity (this does not mean playing in front of the wii for a work out) every day. 

do you know where i see the most problem that just frustrates me to no end (aside from the fact that parents are not well equipped in this area and schools certainly don’t help in the nutrition department, or physical activity department for that matter)? The grocery store. The food industry in america, to put it lightly, is just jacked up. Food that is bad for you is cheap. Healthy food, namely organic (which i am obsessed with all things organic and a HUGE proponent of this), is expensive. for families living on a budget, especially single moms, what type of food do you thing they are going to buy? cheap food full of sugar, bad fats (that might be my next blog entry), processed, and full of harmful chemicals. it usually comes frozen or in a plastic package that is easy for them to “cook.” when we go to the grocery store every week, jonathan always has to chuckle, smile lovingly and say “be nice” when i look in people’s carts and see what they are feeding their families. don’t worry, i never actually say anything to them (although i would like for part of my job to be intervening with people’s grocery shopping and show them how to get the similar food but so much healthier). unfortunately i have no filter when it comes to facial expressions. what i am thinking and/or feeling is always written on my face (and it usually comes down to me rolling my eyes-just ask jonathan). however, when we went grocery shopping a couple of days ago, i almost lost it when i saw this:

and was even more disturbed at the number of people buying these massive tubs of cheese balls. when i looked at the ingredients for this “snack,” there was nothing inherently “bad” about them, other than they are full of artificial flavorings with 9g of fat and 2.5g of saturated fat (serving size about 36 cheese balls or 1 oz), no trans fat or hydrogenated fats which is good, there was just no nutritional value whatsoever. i remember eating these as a kid and feeling rather comatose afterwards. that’s exactly what this food does. and because the food is small, it is easy for kids  to eat many of them in one sitting while watching episodes of icarly or hannah montana (which can play back to back for several hours). i could go into a number of things here-the importance of reading labels, easy, healthy snacks they can eat when they come home from school, activities for them to do that require physical activity, on and on i could go. the biggest thing is watch out for those advertisements and displays such as this at the grocery store. because of michelle obama’s let’s move campaign, shows like the biggest loser, documentaries like supersize me and food inc., health is coming up in the media more. however, food manufacturers know who to target with bad foods that taste “yummy”- kids. just watch the commercials during their favorite tv show. and because many americans are not knowledgeable about health, they see on the front of a box of sugary cereal their kids love that it has 3g of fiber. fiber-they hear in the news that everyone needs more fiber. fiber is good for you, so this cereal, even though it has marshmallows in it, is healthy. w-r-o-n-g. that is a gimmick. in many more blogs to come you will hear from me on this subject. moral of the story? next time, pass the massive tub of cheese balls, grab a couple of organic apples (if it is shiny and doesn’t smell like an apple-there are definitely chemicals in that apple) and some peanut butter. when they get home from school, slice the apple, put a little bit of peanut butter on the apple slices, let them watch 30 minutes of their favorite show if they must, then time to ride bikes. they will have more energy, concentrate on their homework better, and be in a better mood for you!

2 thoughts on “The Tower of Cheese Balls and Grocery Intervention

  1. Everyone in America should read that post, watch Food Inc, and read “Eat This- Not That” as well as get a listing of foods that should strictly be purchased as organic. I thought it was all hype until I realized our food is no longer a commodity but a product that is being utilized for the private sector and not for the sustaining of life. I would also love to see a blog post on MSG- which is a neurotoxin found in huge amounts of processed foods which affects cognitive and social development. Please stay on this soapbox! LOVE YOU!

  2. Love it! Like you said though, it's more of the budget that limits us to what we can or cannot do. We are trying to change our ways here (it's our resolution to start raising our kids healthier), problem is I wasn't raise that way either so I am having to learn myself……Keep the posts coming and share any recipes and advice that you can.

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