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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grocery Shopping and Healthy Eating

Yesterday I went with my two adult daughters grocery shopping.   While they were choosing their groceries, I spent some time noticing what the other customers were buying.  Basically, was the food they were putting in their cart nutritious or not?   Unfortunately, it was quite disturbing as the carts full of nutritious foods were few and far between.  There were some positive things.  One couple in their thirties were reading the food label on cooking oils.   They choose a good oil, canola oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats.   A father and son were going through the store and in their cart was 2 gallons of milk and real orange juice.   It went downhill from there.  A mother in her teenage son at first impressed me, they had whole wheat bread, an onion, a green pepper in their cart and then reached into the frozen food section to pull out a large bag of chicken nuggets and a large bag of French fries.   At least some of their food was healthy.   Then there was the mom whose cart was loaded with refined starches, bags of chips, boxes of fruit punch and then going down the breakfast food aisle she asked her two children “What do you want for breakfast, Pop Tarts?”   I looked at her two children and I wasn’t surprised to see that they were both overweight.   This mother did not have even one nutritious food in her cart.  No fruits, no vegetables, no whole grains.  Another woman had 5 gallons of Hawaiian Punch in her cart and then bags of chips.  I really wanted to ask her who all this sugar and junk food was for but I didn’t. 

I came home and then read a story in our local paper about obese children (Obesity Epidemic has Hit the Diaper Set, Study Says, by Jessica Yadegaran.   Some pediatricians in Walnut Creek, California are alarmed at how obese their patients are becoming.  Not just teenagers or middle schoolers but infants and toddlers are now obese. One of the pediatricians noted even toddlers were coming to appointments clutching their bag of fast food.  The pediatric practice noted that there is now a generation or even two generations of parents that have no idea what a nutritious diet is.   Gary Bean, the pediatrician noted that parents are just feeding their kids fast foods, “It’s become more about picking up something on the go.”   The article also cited a Wayne State University study that noted one-third of infants in the US are now obese or at risk of obesity.   I can bet these parents have done everything to make their house safe for their child, yet it seems they haven’t given much thought to the health of their children.  The author interviewed a pediatric weight management expert who says she sees patients as young as 15 months in the hospital’s Healthy Hearts weight management program. 
One place to start with a good diet is feeding children fruits and vegetables.  Not highly processed and fried foods like French fries.  They don’t count.  But apples, bananas, oranges, and fresh vegetables like salads full of dark greens.  It truly was amazing how many moms in the grocery store had no fruits or vegetables in their grocery cart. 

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