Don’t get me wrong I am super pleased and grateful my kids can attend a wonderful school that provides extra programs such as the health fair. Many basics regarding health and exercise are addressed and its a great opportunity for kids to start to learn they are the ones responsible for their own health.
The problem lies within the schools having to follow the USDA dietary guidelines. As a certified holistic health coach and REAL food advocate I can assure you a lot of this health information is outdated, misguided, and HAS TO GO!
Why? Because its WRONG!
Here are Five Nutrition LIES Being Taught at the School Health Fair
Fat free skim milk is healthier and a better choice than whole milk.
(This idea stems from the belief that a reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health.)
THE REAL TRUTH:
If you are going to have your kids drink milk pastured (grass-fed) organic whole milk is the best choice. Fat free pasteurized milk is NOT a healthy choice and actually has been linked to weight gain in children vs. those who drink whole milk (read more here and HERE). Fat free pasteurized skim milk has been stripped of everything milk has to offer. Its basically a dead food.
For the past 40 years doctors and dietitians have been telling us that saturated fat is a big no no and to avoid at all costs. This is old news and there is current clear cut data that saturated fat intake has absolutely zero to do with heart disease and other vascular ailments.
Full fat pastured organic (Raw if you have access to it) milk is the BEST choice for kids as its chock full of healthy fats and protein. The brain predominately relies on saturated fat, cholesterol, and polyunsaturated fat for growth and thats why kids NEED the fat in milk! Kids that drink pastured organic whole milk are getting high doses vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid, and Omega 3 fatty acids to help them THRIVE!
2. Butter is BAD
THE REAL TRUTH:
Butter is back, butter is delicious and butter is GOOD for you! Butter especially raw butter from grass fed cows is full of nourishing fats and vitamins including CLA, cholesterol, Arachidonic Acid (AA), glycospingolipids, iodine, lauric acid, minerals, and vitamin A,D,E and K2.
Americans health problems are not stemming from the intake of butter but rather the consumption of trans fat which radically increased in the mid-1950s. Rates of sudden death from heart disease have faithfully risen right along with trans fat consumption.
Refined carbs, sugar, and trans fats found in processed foods are the real enemy—not the saturated fats found in foods such as butter, lard, or eggs.
3. 100% fruit juice is a healthy beverage
THE REAL TRUTH:
Juice even 100% juice is straight up pure sugar.
When you juice a fruit all the fiber is removed leaving you a dose of concentrated fructose. Fructose causes your blood sugar levels to rise. High blood sugar levels triggers your body to store the energy as fat. Then the blood sugar levels come crashing down leaving you feeling moody, tired, and no better hydrated. Whats even worse is then you start to crave more sugar and this starts a vicious cycle that can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Fruit juice even “100% juice” is empty calories with very few nutrients. If you want juice tell your kids to eat the fruit. The fiber slows down the fructose absorption and also leaves them a lot more full! Better yet lets remind kids daily that the most important thing they can put in their bodies is WATER plain old water!
4. Whole wheat bread or whole grain is the better choice
THE REAL TRUTH:
This one is tricky because yes a whole wheat piece of bread is going to have more fiber and retained nutrients vs. a piece of processed white bread. Sadly today’s commercial wheat and whole grain breads you find at the big chain grocery stores can be put right into the processed food category. Hardly is bread made now as grandma used to do it with just good quality flour,yeast,water, and honey.
Many of today’s wheat breads and crackers are FULL of preservatives, processed oils and other junk. All you have to do is look at the ingredients on most breads and cracker boxes.
Grains technically also need to be soaked in a culture base to remove the harmful phytic acid that can leach vitamins and minerals right out of the body. This was common practice in the olden days and helps with the digestion of the grain and assimilation of nutrients. This traditional practice has been all but lost in our Western culture.
For these reasons I believe kids should be taught to aim to eat more fruits and veggies and minimal to no breads and crackers. Technically we can actually live without breads and crackers and our bodies would be better off for it.
Whole wheat bread is better than white but at what expense? Aim to teach your kiddos to eat more fruits and get healthy complex carbohydrates from vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash. If your going to eat bread the best breads to eat are those made fresh right in your own kitchen with wholesome nutrient rich ingredients.
5. Look for the fat and calories on a nutrition label first
THE REAL TRUTH:
Our kids need to be taught not just to read fat grams, calories, or carbs but to be label detectives!!! They need to READ THE INGREDIENTS first and foremost. Let them know that if they don’t understand any of the ingredients it or if there are 5 or more ingredients on the label than its most likely an unhealthy FAKE food.
We have to go beyond just fat and calories and let kids know that just because on the box it reads “healthy” or “full of vitamins and minerals” does not make that food product healthy. Sometimes some of the healthiest foods such as coconut oil or manna (which is yummy off of the spoon) are high in fat and calories. Does that make them bad? Absolutely not! We need to clarify and teach kids to identify REAL food that will make them thrive and FAKE foods that will provide nothing but empty calories.
I try to remind my kids that REAL foods don’t have advertisements on the t.v. and most don’t require a label so aim for those. Yes my kids do still eat things from a box but they know what to look for and if they understand the ingredients and less than 5 then its a o.k. choice if not then its junk food.
The school Health Fair can be an awesome learning tool for kids to take control of their own health but misinformation can just leave them feeling more confused as to what to eat. Instead of what is good and what is bad I feel a better approach would be to teach and identify what REAL foods are vs. FAKE food products. Assure kids that healthy eating is not complicated or hard but fun and delicious! REAL foods fall in the category of fruits/veggies for carb energy, fermented foods such as kefir or raw sauerkraut for probiotics and gut health, meat/fish provide protein for strong muscles and nuts, avocado, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, are healthy fats for growing brains.
We need to remind kids DAILY that REAL foods are fuel for their bodies to function at an optimal level all day so choose wisely! Lets also get our kids cooking in the kitchen and growing gardens. If they can learn these basics they have a solid foundation for health that can carry them throughout life!