Changing The Future One Meal At A TimeMon 05 Mar 2012
Story by Kimberly Bright
I was a typical American kid from a typical American family. At home we were a happy and supportive clan, but the bullies lurked just outside the walls. To them I was the chubby kid from a fat family and an easy target for teasing and taunting. I was eventually too afraid to participate in group sports or defend myself. I felt powerless against the bullying, the battle of obesity, and the diseases that tag along with it.
Of course, this is only one side of the story. My family almost had it right. Cooking meals at home and eating dinner together was a tradition. Dinner was our time to bond and exchange stories about daily triumphs or tribulations. We laughed, we shared, and we ate. A lot.
Like so many busy parents who are struggling to pay the bills, my parents made food choices that were quick, easy and affordable to keep their family fed without draining the pocket book. Cheap processed snacks (usually labeled low fat) were always on hand in the morning and after school. We also relied on school lunches as a major source of daily nutrition. The options at school included bags of chips, pizza and the occasional carton of chocolate milk.
This was my childhood and young adulthood. Our smart, loving, funny family was merely turning in to a statistic. A tale of “what not to do”. Something had to change.
In order to gain control of my own health and future, I am changing my relationship with food and exercise. I put my big girl pants on and started working out and running, disregarding the fear of being made fun of. It has empowered me to think about nutrition in an entirely different light. Many road races and home cooked meals later I am slowly rewriting my story, and enthusiastically sharing those recipes with anyone who is willing to listen. I am passionate about creating delicious meals featuring whole grains, vegetables and organic ingredients, and enjoy eating more than ever.
In other words, I am beating the odds.
Cooking healthfully for our families at home is a great step in the right direction, but our communities and schools have to get involved. Right now, our family’s health is in the hands of corporations and nutritionally inexperienced government employees who focus on the bottom line. They are willing to serve us unhealthy processed food if it means they stay within budget or make a profit.
Our children’s health and happiness is directly linked to how we feed them. We can all beat the odds and change the trajectory of our nation’s health one meal, one family, and one school at a time.
About the author: Kimberly Bright is a food writer and recipe developer living in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and two furry children. She shares her recipes and experiences on the food blog, Grubarazzi, doing her part to help inspire others to cook healthy delicious meals at home.
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