Recently, I was a guest speaker to a group of high school seniors. One student asked me my thoughts of why people become addicted to junk food.

The following reply is my explanation of why there’s an obesity epidemic that plagues our present-day society.

You see, back in the early days, there was only one parent working which was typically the father. The mother stayed home bearing all the responsibilities of raising children and house work.

Most all meals were prepared by mom using fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden or the local grocery store. All meats and fish came from area farmers and lakes. Eggs and dairy came from grass-fed cattle and chickens.

Now, I’m not saying all of mom’s meals were completely healthy because there was a lot of flour and grease used for cooking back then. But, it still wasn’t processed foods.

Fast forward to present day, and our American society has drastically changed. Now you have both parents working to create better financial security. Mom and dad put in a full day’s work and cooking becomes too great a chore. It’s much easier to grab precooked processed foods on the way home.

Your kids probably have multiple activities after school like dance rehearsals, baseball practice, karate lessons and so on. Both parents are going in multiple directions trying to accommodate the needs of each child. “Honey, you get food for Billy, and I’ll grab something for Suzie. See y’all later tonight.”

Also, present-day children’s lunchboxes are filled with foods that come in wrappers, boxes and juice packets. All these are loaded with sodium and sugar. Read the labels and you’ll be upset with yourself.

Lastly, I told the group of high school seniors, when you were kids, how often did you attend birthday parties on the weekends? Because we live in such crowded cities along with multiple activities, kids will have tons of friends. Which is fine, but they are probably eating birthday cake and ice cream almost every weekend.

So, how do we change these destructive eating habits in our crazy busy parenting lives?

You already know the answer. You must grocery shop and meal plan for the entire week. This includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Give your kids a variety of veggies, fruits and nut treats to find out which are their favorites.

Parents, I know you’re busy and tired, but you must take a step back and teach your kids a healthier diet. You’re setting them up for a better quality of life.

Until next week, keep moving and improving.

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