Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything

Tue 05 Jul 2011

Story by John Hruska
 

I think most families can attest that time, or the lack of it, has a direct affect on how we eat.

I know for our family it did, and we would often find ourselves waiting in the drive-thru to pick up dinner on the way home. It seemed like a simple solution after a long day. Honestly, who wants to spend what little time is left of the day cooking and then cleaning up? I know we didn’t!

But the thing is – as we soon learned – that the time and energy we were trying to save would eventually be lost anyway.

Our now 16-year-old son, Jason (pictured), was then attending a small private school. The lack of space, staff, money and facilities meant it had no choice but to outsource for at least three meals a week. With McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Arby’s regular fixtures on their lunch menu, it wasn’t long before the effects were noticeable.

Jason had always been a lean, active kid with lots of energy, but that was changing. He was gaining weight, and his energy would come in bursts and quickly fade. It didn’t take long to make the connection. At the time, it didn’t occur to us that it could change for everyone, but we knew we had to do something for Jason’s sake.

First, there were obviously to be no more trips to the drive-thru. Second was to pack his lunch more often so we could better control what he was putting in his body. These were unpopular decisions, to say the least, but eventually they paid off.

We then began to do some research. We learned of all the illnesses that can be attributed to poor nutrition, and how eating properly could help prevent many of them. From diabetes to heart disease and dozens of illnesses in between, there is a clear connection between how we eat and how we feel.

We had always preferred cooking fresh, wholesome foods to pre-packaged, “dinner in minutes” options, but didn’t know how to get around the lack of time. Then a friend suggested we start using a crock pot to do the work for us. We dug it out, dusted it off, and before long we were slow roasting entire meals, sides and all, while we worked. Beef and pork roasts, BBQ chicken and ribs, stir-fries, chili, stews and gumbos, the list is pretty long! It’s a great solution for busy families who want to eat better, but don’t have time on their side.

I can’t tell you how grateful we are to Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution team for this long overdue wake-up call to parents and schools. He made us realize that it needs to change for everyone – and that it can.

The two pictures of Jason, one taken in 2006, and the other at the beginning of the 2010/11 school year, make the difference pretty obvious, and I’m not referring to his haircut. It’s simple: healthy children grow up to be healthy adults, and we need to teach them before it‘s too late.

What parents need to realize is; the time you think you’re saving now has a price…and it’s a big one.

About the author: John Hruska, stepfather to Jason, has been in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry for 23 years. He currently lives with his wife Amy and Jason in Canadensis, in the Pocono Mountains of PA.

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