Vegetables are an integral part of our diet – there is no doubt about it. However, children these days eat only a minimum amount of vegetables, which is a very alarming trend. I always worry when I see children going for snacks and fatty food items at the cafeteria of the school where I teach Math. Middle school students are at a stage in their life where they need nutrition and a proper diet. Even if the school menu has fruits and vegetables on it, 90 percent of the children opt for snacks and sugar-laden drinks.
New fast food places open up every week in San Diego which means children and adults have more opportunities to eat junk food. It really worries me to see children gobbling down food that is most likely to cause obesity. I know it is hard to get children, especially teenagers, to stick to a healthy food routine, but you can always incorporate vegetables into their daily meals with a little bit of effort. For example, when we are having steak at home, I make sure that we all consume a healthy portion of sautéed vegetables with it. Similarly, adding a bowl of salad to every meal can do wonders in improving the overall diet patterns of your family.
Eating vegetables has tremendous health benefits which cannot be stressed enough. First and foremost, they reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Everyone knows that heart attack kills millions of people in America every year and it seldom comes with a warning. The fatty food items that we consume on a regular basis clog our arteries and ultimately lead to a heart attack. If you think about it, children who consume fast food on a regular basis start clogging their arteries at a very young age, increasing the chances of having a heart attack even before they reach 40. Same is the case with strokes. By adding vegetables to our diet, we can easily be safe from these fatal illnesses.
Obesity is another worrying trend that I see in children too often. I have often talked to the parents of my students about how low carb vegetables can help with this problem and bring their child’s weight within the normal range. Vegetables such as sprouts, spinach, cabbage, legumes and carrots are all low in their carbohydrate content and are excellent sources of nutrition. However, the problems is that most kids and even adults run in the opposite direction as soon as they hear the words ‘green vegetables’. The trick is to cook them in a way that they become appetizing – use some spices or add some meat to jazz up the serving.
Eating more vegetables has numerous health benefits such as reducing risk of diabetes, kidney stones, certain types of cancers and high blood pressure. If we only included more vegetables to our diet, we wouldn’t have to take medicine for so many conditions. The reason I am more intent on getting kids to eat vegetables is that once they get into the habit, it will stick with them forever.