From the moment my daughter first got on the bus for school this year, I knew that there was a possibility I’d end up in a battle for her mind. I knew from the experiences of my brother and his children that teachers were tasked with trying to make their students as little like their parents as possible.
I fooled myself into believing that in the small southern town that I live in, I’d not run into these problems until middle school or perhaps even high school.
Turns out it starts in Kindergarden.
This past week, she’s been learning about the food pyramid, pictured here:
Now you and I probably grew up on the 5 food groups. Here is the 5 food groups chart as you may remember it.
You’ll notice that the chart is very scientific in it’s approach. Your body needs x amount of these to function normally. Nothing about decisions within that or what you choose to do beyond that. If you choose to drink milk or instead eat ice cream, all the chart knows is that you had dairy.
At http://www.mypyramid.gov they have a much more complex view of the science of nutrients. This includes a new category called Discretionary Calories:
…assume your calorie budget is 2,000 calories per day. Of these calories, you need to spend at least 1,735 calories for essential nutrients, if you choose foods without added fat and sugar. Then you have 265 discretionary calories left. You may use these on “luxury” versions of the foods in each group, such as higher fat meat or sweetened cereal. Or, you can spend them on sweets, sauces, or beverages. Many people overspend their discretionary calorie allowance, choosing more added fats, sugars, and alcohol than their budget allows.
Fairly benign. It doesn’t tell you what you should choose really. It’s somewhat close to the 5 food groups concept. Essentially here’s the information, the choice is yours.
However for kids they call them “extras” and they are MUCH more specific about expectations:
Some foods such as milk, yogurt, and cereals provide important nutrients, but they can also contain “extras.” For example, sweetened yogurt and sweetened breakfast cereals contain sugars. Whole milk and cheese contain solid fat. Look for choices of milk, yogurt, cheese, and cereals that are low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no-added sugars. (emphasis theirs)
As we all know, this is Michelle Obamas pet project: America’s fat. But, as is often the case, government finds it’s way into our lives before any laws have even been passed. This is the case with the new government view on food and how
the State’s our children, should consume it.
My daughter, after many days of warning me of the dangers of ‘unhealthy foods’, came home with her own chart.
My wife cooks with that oil and on Saturday mornings we enjoy homemade blueberry muffins. Now my daughter is afraid that her idiot parents have been trying to make her unhealthy. I’ve tried to explain to her many times that when the teacher says ‘unhealthy’ she only means ‘not to be eaten in excess or too often’ but apparently I’ve been battling what the teachers have been saying. As a result of the school deciding to tell my children what food to ‘stay away from’ my daughter is now afraid to eat childhood staples like homemade blueberry muffins or ice cream. The teachers have apparently infused the fear that Mrs. Obama was hoping for and the result will be skinny people with the carefreeness of youth missing from their childhoods.
I was able to get all the way through school without having the teachers dictate which foods I should consume. My teachers only concerned themselves with the science of living. What nutrients does one need to function not which type of ice cream you should avoid. They weren’t trying to instill eating habits in us, they weren’t trying to push their idea of ‘good eatin’ on us; No, they did a crazy thing back then which the First Lady just can’t let happen again: They left those decisions to my parents.