This is a guest post by Stacy Whitman.
“Mom, can we get Cheetos?”
“Mom, can we get Frosted Flakes?”
I’d taken my then-6-year-old son’s to the grocery store to gather ingredients for a recipe to cook together. Concerned about his growing demands for uber-processed “food” like Doritos and Go-GURT, I thought having him help shop and prepare a “real” meal would be a smart move. But as we navigated the store, all I was getting was more requests for more junk.
We’d just entered the land of Froot Loops when I had an idea. I whipped out my smartphone, pulled up my Fooducate app, and instructed my young sugar fiend to start scanning. After seeing their scores, he quickly put the sugary cereals back on the shelf. After about 15 minutes (fortunately, we weren’t in a rush!), he found an organic, low-sugar (1 gram per serving), 100-percent whole-grain option that earned an A-minus. Done! He was satisfied, as was I.
Raising healthy kids may not be part of the American dream, but it should be. With most life-threatening chronic diseases (including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and many cancers) linked to poor eating habits, there may be no greater threat to our national prosperity than our crappy diets. In this day and age, with junk food being hawked on every corner, putting healthy food on the table simply isn’t enough. We must educate our kids about what and how to eat.
Fooducate can be used as an educational tool in the school setting as well. Teachers can have students scan a variety of products and divide them into groups based on their letter grade. Then, discuss the reasons why the different products are rated higher or lower. It’s the kind of real-world nutrition lesson that will spark kids’ interest and teach them to think about the food that they’re eating.
Whenever I go shopping with my children, I am always sure to bring Fooducate along. They love scanning the bar codes, and I love coming home with a cart full of real food—no arguments!
Stacy Whitman is the real food lovin’ mom behind the blog School Bites: One Mom’s Crusade for Better Nourished Kids at School. She invites you to join the food conversation on her Facebook page or Twitter.