Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Let's Discuss: "What Foods Kids Eat Around the World"

I recently stumbled upon an article published by TIME that caught my attention.
The article is titled "What Foods Kids Eat Around the World" by Gregg Segal.
Two reasons inspired my click, part curiosity of different cultures and part hunger.
I'm glad that I clicked because I spent well over an hour really dissecting the article.
Each word was read and re-read and every picture was carefully studied.
It really was a very interesting read.  If you haven't seen the article, go check it out.
Like, now.  Go check it out right now and then come right back.  Please.  :)

gregg segal; Nino Khaburzahia; american food; what type of food is american food; feeding our children; healthy diet; nutritious diet

The photographer began the project by selecting different children from around the world.
Each child was tasked with documenting a list of all the foods they consumed for a week.
Afterwards, the kids were brought into a studio to be photographed with all that food.

The first thing I noticed was the difference between the American children compared to others.
They were heavier and their food selections were mostly crap that included lots of take out.
This really impacted me because take out and delivery is becoming the norm here.

I constantly get judged for putting my children to bed at later times, typically around 9 PM.
I calmly explain to the judges that I don't get home from work until 6:30PM on an early night.
When I get home, I have to first start prepping and cooking dinner for the entire family.
Sure I could order a slice of pizza or Chinese food.  Of course I could pick up McDonald's on the way home.
I could also fill the fridge with sodas and sugary drinks and the pantry with junk and snacks.
But I don't.  I don't because it isn't healthy.  Instead I cook fresh, nutritious meals.
I'm not looking for a medal because this to me is basic.  It's how I was raised.
Instead I want others to know that it's hard, but it can be done.
It's OK to put your kids to bed a little later if it means that they are nourished with healthy, nutritious meals.

"For the first time in many generations, life expectancy in America is declining and the main culprit is empty calories."  - Gregg Segal

The second thing I noticed was the amount of "American" food in the other kid's meals.
What is "American" food anyways?  Hamburgers, grilled cheese, and fast food?  For shame...
I was surprised that countries like Germany and Italy are eating fast food pizza and french fries regularly.
It seems like the poorer countries are eating the healthiest, most nutritious meals.
Peep the boy from Sicily wearing the Captain America shirt.  Copy our heroes, not our diet, kiddies!
This is one point I'll give to the Americans - Healthy food is significantly more expensive than junk here.
I know this seems backwards, but it's true.  It's cheaper to buy a McDonald's meal than a bag of apples!

The third thing I noticed was probably the most shocking of all.
Some of these parents learned what their kids ate from watching them stage the photo shoot.
The author quoted some parent's statements of shock and disbelief at the amount of junk laying there.
As a parent, it's important for me to take ownership of what my children consume.
Call it micromanaging parenting, but I carefully plot and plan my kid's meals.
That means making them breakfast, packing a bag lunch, packing snacks, and cooking dinner.
Is this no longer the norm?  Come on, people!  Tell me I'm not alone here!!

Another great point that that author highlights for us is the amount of garbage we create.
The more takeout consumed is the more waste we are filling our world with.
Eat fresh food and limit the waste that comes with prepackaged foods.

As a proud American, I'm appalled and disgusted at our diets.
When did work and free time become more important than what we put in our bodies?
Or even worse, when did it become more important than what we put in our children's bodies?
Please, take the time to explore your kitchen and to learn how to make simple yet nutritious meals.
Limit your takeout to once a week and fuel yourselves and your children with real food.

I'll stop this unusually long post right here.  Sorry, the article struck a nerve.
Thank you, Gregg Segal, for highlighting such an important issue with such creativity.
I hope your work truly does make a difference, at least for the kids!

If you tracked your food this week, what would it look like?


  1. Lol on you telling the judges! My kids always went to bed at 9 pm. They got up at 6 am, so why in the world would I put them down earlier??

    I'm going to come back to the article, but yes I was aware of the obesity in children and the awful diets. I was a SAHM, so we never had take out. But finances didn't always allow fresh veggies and seafood, so my kids did eat things like fish sticks and boxed Mac and cheese for lunch. Breakfast was either scrambled eggs, Eggo waffles or cream of wheat. I did make homemade dinners.

    I have no clue why parents would be surprised at what their kids ate. Who's doing the grocery shopping?

    1. My parents are the two biggest judges of that. My dad will tell me to pick up a slice of pizza and skip the homemade meal so that they go to bed earlier. 1. I don't get to see them then. 2. No? Just no. I care about what I eat so then I certainly care about what they eat. Then again, my family is very judgmental. We do Eggo waffles too and we're guilty of the box mac and cheese periodically.. but for the most part, I make my own soup and freeze it. We make our own macaroni salad and what not. It may be part of my OCD that I don't know who's handling my food or what's in it. It may be because I grew up with a very ill mother so I've always been extra conscious of my health (I have diagnosed health anxiety). But, we typically stay away from processed foods, to the best of our abilities. I remember the day my husband brought home a Lunchables for my daughter and it went straight into the garbage. LOL

  2. I've seen that article many times around Facebook last year, and it is always shocking to see, especially how disgusting the diet of Western kids is, almost as if their parents are trying to kill them. And also the amount of it is just appalling. I think most parents feed their spawn with garbage to keep them quiet because most people are annoyed by their own kids LOL And plus most parents have weak personalities and will themselves so they eat garbage, drink and smoke in front of their children. I usually feel like slapping every mother I see feeding her kids with soda or industrial food, but people just like the easier way in life even if it can kill their loved ones. I once, years ago, criticised some American mommies on some page for feeding their kids with ready made food and they all attacked me saying ain't nobody will make them feel guilty for taking time for themselves even if it means stealing away the time needed for the health of their kids. I was left disgusted and I still am. For so many Americans personal comfort is more important than wellbeing and health of others.

    1. I haven't had much time to scroll through social media lately so I may have missed it, but when I saw it, I was definitely shook. A periodic unhealthy meal or snack won't hurt you, but a week's worth of meals is just disgusting. I don't know if it's laziness or finance, but based on the parent's comments, it looked like they were allowing the kid's to choose what they ate. We're guilty of some processed foods such as boxed mac & cheese and frozen chicken nuggets, but if we eat them twice a month, that's a lot! As far as soda or smoking, neither are even allowed in my home. I don't even let the kids drink juice because it's all added sugars.

    2. Yea, eating something industrial ain't a crime if we do it once or twice a week, but there are parents who feed it to kids like 24/7. And give them ready made and canned meals for lunch and dindins instead of cooking natural produce under an excuse that they don't have time... yea, right, but our grandparents managed to build up the world after the war and still have a cooked meal every day on the table. Those people just use excuses for their bad parenting.
      It's good that you don't give them juice, many don't understand that it's bad too.

    3. That's too much! Time and money are always the best excuses.. To be fair, fresh produce is disgustingly expensive here, but there are seasonal varieties that are a lot less expensive. We also grow some veggies to save money. What world do we live in that a 1/4 lb burger, large french fries, and large drink costs less than a bag of string beans??

  3. Good for you, Jax! I'm super proud of you right now. So, this is going to sound terrible. I used to have a sign in my kitchen when the kids were little, "Don't like it, don't eat it." Because they had friends whose moms made them different meals to accommodate their tastes. My kids decided they wanted to eat: pizza, mac & cheese, and chicken Mc nuggets instead of pork chops, roasted chicken, and steak...steak! While my options weren't "healthy," they were better than crap. And they were homemade after I came home from work! Sure, we had spaghetti, hamburger helper, and EZ meals when I had a migraine but I wasn't about to stop serving vegetables because my kids didn't like it. They got them again for the next meal. I was a single mom on a budget. I didn't have the time or the money to cater to their desire for junk. I'll get off my soap box now. :)


    1. Don't get me wrong. I certainly don't cook high class meals every night, but I do cook fresh meals. Last night we had a marinated pork loin, string beans, and rice. To be honest, I don't even like a pork loin, but it was on sale. Inexpensive and healthy trumps my taste buds. :) :)

    2. Elsie, your page is still gone. :(

  4. Actually, in my country, there is also a concern that more and more piles of garbage are growing. Not because they are unable to process waste. But due to lack of environmental awareness, disposing of food waste at tourist sites such as beaches. Now the government is aggressively advocating for citizens to help reduce the use of plastic and sterofoam.

    1. That seems to be a big one everywhere. People just have a strong disregard for the environment sometimes. People who litter are the worst type of people!

  5. Food is certainly an interesting juggling game.

  6. It is amazing how poor the diets have become here. What are we doing that we are too busy to take 30 minutes out of our day to make a home cooked meal? I'm not a saint and do have fruit snacks or boxed mac and cheese on hand that the kids are free to eat whenever. However, they almost always reach for the fruit and veggies or make themselves grilled cheese, oatmeal, or soup before reaching for a box of pizza rolls. I remember when Allison was like 4 we had a CPS supervisor at the dining room table (My sister had to have supervised visits with her daughter I had custody of at the time). Anyhow, Allison came downstairs and said "Can I have a cucumber?" the CPS lady said, "Did she just ask for a cucumber? That's weird. I've never heard a child ask for a whole cucumber for a snack before." It's funny, but it's sad at the same time. When I was a kid, I never asked for candy bar when I went grocery shopping with mom. I always asked for a lemon. Maybe my family is just weird LOL

  7. Yep. Pathetic how all it is is junk junk junk. A little here and there isn't going to kill anyone, but 24/7 is stupid. And parents eat just as bad as the kids. You say something to them and they get all offended that they need their time or some crap. Pffft. And don't even get me started on the a holes that get fast food and then just chuck things out the window around here. See it all over the road.


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