Monday, September 28, 2009

Smackdown: Barbara Walters vs Paula Deen

Yesterday I watched this video.

Wow! Did Barbara Walters say Paula Deen makes kids fat? Yes, she did, sort of ... all while she was eating Paula Deen's creations.

Barbara is right in that obesity in children is a horrible problem. WebMD says that one out of every five children in the U.S. is overweight or obese. That number is growing and may very well lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin conditions, diabetes, stress, self-esteem issues, and perhaps depression.

Paula Deen was on The View to promote her new children's cookbook "Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set." The recipes are simple and fun and designed for special activities such as bake sales, sleepovers, and pool parties. As Paula said, "Moderation...we don't eat this way everyday of our life."

So Barbara and Paula are both right. Paula's recipes can be fattening if eaten all the time. But Paula is also right in that these kinds of foods should be eaten in moderation. Both Barbara and Paula failed to mention what an important part physical activity plays in all this. No food need be off limits if children are getting plenty of exercise.

I was also thinking that a cookbook for children is a great idea. It's fantastic quality time that parents can spend with their children. And children can learn the skill of cooking while also improving their reading, math, measuring, and science skills.

After watching this, I began wondering what our local schools were serving for lunch this week. I was pleasantly surprised. Items on the elementary and middle school menu include hot ham & cheese on a whole wheat bun, broccoli and cheese, oranges, cheese dippers with salsa, garden salads, mixed veggies, pears, and Sun Chips. The high school menu didn't seem quite as healthy to me. It had the broccoli, salads, fruits, and green beans, but also had cheese burgers, pizza, oven fries, chicken drummies, chili crispitos, and school made cookies. But I did notice last time I was there that vending machine choices included milk, juice, water, sandwiches, cereal bars, and crackers. So there are good foods, if children make the healthy choices. This is something parents and teachers must stress to children...healthy choices.

It appears schools are moving in the right direction. What about parents? Two other videos I found show how parents can also move in a healthy direction. These are not recipes for children to make, but are ones that parents can use to get more fruits and vegetables into their children's diet.

The first is Jessica Seinfeld, author of "Deceptively Delicious." The second is Missy Chase Lapine, author of "The Sneaky Chef."

Enjoy! And Be Healthy!


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