The Smart Eats Project

What is it?

The Smart Eats Project is a free workshop created by Rachel Brown, Nicole Cooper , friends and neighbors with an interest in nutrition and young people. It is one piece of the amazingly inspiring movement to increase education of whole foods among youth.

 

Mission Statement.

We are committed to being a part of the movement educating children on the importance of making smart food choices in a fun and inspiring way leaving them empowered to feel their best and be their best! Specifically, we strive to:

 Educate children on the different food choices they are faced with, what those choices mean, and how to make the best choices.

 Aid in the transformation to achieve balanced eating through education thereby decreasing each childs chance of  obesity, diabetes and poor self esteem.

 Create a hands-on collaborative experience emphasizing the importance of community in helping each other to be the best we can be.

 

Why It Matters.

Sadly, the list on why this matters is far too long. Point blank, over 20% of children in the USA are obese. The percentage of overweight children age six to 11 has doubled in the last 25 years and the percentage of overweight teens has tripled. One in three American children (30 million kids) are overweight today (and it is predicted that one in two — yes, HALF of all children! — will be overweight by 2010). We are headed in the wrong direction, perhaps approaching a tipping point and if we don’t do something to change the path now, we are predicted to see a generation not only to be outlived by their parents, but that will suffer from symptoms of “adult” onset disease by the time they hit double digits.

So whose “fault” is it?  Truly, we are all (yes, all) responsible. A typical child sees 10,000 junk food ads a year. Neighborhood playgrounds, school physical education, and after-school programs have all declined dramatically — while junk food vending machines are now everywhere. Soda intake has increased 500 percent since the 1950s and now comprises 10 percent of all calories consumed by the average teenager. Modern foods – the foods they eat and the foods we eat – are made by food chemists, not grown by farmers.

The only thing that hasn’t changes in this arena is the fact that we are humans.  How can our brilliant little bodies possibly keep up with something so drastically unnatural? The answer: they can’t. Our genes haven’t changed, the environment has.

*Source: Dr. Mark Hyman & Dr. David Ludwig on Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World

 

What We Can Do, Together.

We can make choices.  Small and simple choices that over time will create a new path for the future.  Starting with a little education on how to identify healthy foods versus highly process foods (often with misleading packaging), we will begin to understand the power these seemingly small choices have in creating our lives.  We will feel better, we will connect with each other better, we will be better. We will make a difference and do our part in building a healthy future. How will we do this? We will start out by focusing on:

 Eating real foods that come from nature
Understanding how to make these choices, even if the packaging is confusing
Having FUN with food – forming happy and healthy relationships with food, ourselves and each other

 

Want More?

That’s awesome! There are tons of things you can do in your home and community that will make a huge difference.  There are also many incredible resources and support systems out there to take advantage of. Whether you are committing to turning off the TV during mealtime and eliminating junk food from your pantry or working within your community to get vending machines out of schools and healthy foods in, it’s perfect. By taking action, you are in piece of the puzzle, a ripple to the wave, a snowflake to the avalanche of the movement that is: a healthier future.

Here are some places to get started. Each of these resources offers dozens of links with more specific information on how to take action in the area you are most interested in:

  Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com

This resource offers hundreds of ways to step up to the plate: sign petitions, try new healthy recipes, download a detailed guide on how to change food in your child’s school, find people nearby already doing it and offer them support.  However you want to get involved, this resource is here to help.

 Nutrition Detectives: www.nutritiondetectives.com

A comprehensive program designed by Dr. David Katz for schools to teach kids about taking healthy choices.

   Let’s Move: http://www.letsmove.gov

Michelle Obama uses her voice to inspire change with the Let’s Move Movement.  Depending on your personal and professional network, find ways you can use your voice to make the most impactful difference.