The Blog

The Blog

Taste The Healthy Lifestyle… Real Food For Real Kids


Are your kids “coocoo for Cocoa Puffs?”  Does there breakfast come in the form of pink moons, yellow stars, and orange clovers?  Are they receiving morning nutrition information from a rabbit?  Silly parent!  Trix are for kids!  Unfortunately now, so is obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  Foods and drinks high in sugar are at the “heart” of the problem, no pun intended.  Unless your child is independently wealthy and has the means to drive to the store to purchase food, you are the nutritional gatekeeper.  It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one.

The last significant societal decrease in physical activity was around the years of the proliferation of the television (the 60’s).  Since then, we have probably decreased our overall activity, but nothing considered statistically significant.  Despite no significant decrease in activity, we have seen a consistent increase in obesity.  Our bodyweight and bodyfat are regulated by the amount of energy we expend vs. how much we take in.  If we are not expending any more or less energy than we used to, we must be taking more in.  Even worse, in attempt to multiply our food supply, keep food costs down, and keep big food company profits up, there is less “food” in what we eat.  At the end of the day, we are consuming mostly flavorings, colorings, and preservatives with a little bit of wheat, corn, or potato product.  Does this sound like something that is good for us?  If this food was prepared in front of us and not behind well-protected doors at food production plants, would it still be appetizing?  Why do we eat it then?  The answer?  We are addicts that learned at a young age that this is an acceptable form of “food”.

Our “taste” for food is formed at a young age.  If high doses of sugar represent “breakfast” when you’re a kid, that’s probably what it will represent when you’re an adult.  The same goes for a high salt, high fat food representing “lunch”, “dinner”, or “snack”.  The tastes in these high sugar, salt, and fat foods aren’t even real tastes.  They are enhanced so that we will have a more significant taste experience, making us want to buy the product again.  If you grow up on this type of food and then have something homemade with whole food products, it doesn’t have the perfect uniform consistency and taste.  It doesn’t taste like “food” to you.  You eventually go to the doctor and receive your certain death sentence if you don’t change your diet.  Now you must re-train yourself as to what food actually “tastes” like.  Due to the high emotional significance related to food and taste, this becomes a daunting battle for your health, and consequently, your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting a child have a processed, sugary, fatty, salty treat every once in a while.  The most important intervention with kids however, is to have this regulated by the parent.  Kids can’t make long-term, rational decisions about their health.  Of course a sweet chemical taste is going to seem like a better choice to them. If you fill their breakfast bowl with sugar cereal, their lunchbox with processed lunch items, and their belly with fast food for dinner every day, what are you teaching them?   It’s your job as a parent to teach them that it’s OK to eat that stuff every once in a while, but it’s not actually “food”.  Food is what mom or dad prepares from a recipe and serves at the dinner table.  Try to eat “food” at meals 90% of the time.

Real food can be delicious.  Involve your kids in the process. Take them to the grocery store, especially if it’s a more “adventurous” one like Whole Foods. Let them pick out some crazy looking fruit or vegetable to try. The vivid colors and shapes of most fruits or vegetables are actually appealing to kids if they are properly exposed to them. Show them real food and get them to have an appreciation for it.  Maybe even take them to a garden or involve them in growing a small garden at home.  Spend time when they’re young showing them how to make real food.  Not only do they learn the basics of cooking, they learn that real food is created, not bought in a box.  Finally, when mom and dad complain that real food is “health food,” kids relate “health food” to “tasteless”.  Create a culture of health in the home.

In today’s busy home and work environment, taking extra time to instill better nutrition habits is a challenge.  However, it’s a challenge we must accept.  The alternative is far more inconvenient.  If we continue with our current trend of obesity, our kids that are 5 right now will inherit a trillion dollar health care expense specifically dedicated to obesity related maladies by the time they’re 25.  That’s not to mention the personal impact of poor health.

Create a “taste” for health at a young age to create a future of happy, healthy, pain free adults.


Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

Similar Posts