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Healthy Twinkies and Ding Dongs? Not Just For The Apocalypse

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Photo provided by Heather Swanson

Take a good look at this photo. It’s not a hoax. This photo was taken in Anchorage Alaska at a local Safeway. It wasn’t a joke, this is a real display that was placed in a real grocery store.

Twinkies, which are jokingly referred to as being able to survive nuclear fallout and the zombie apocalypse. Now I am not against the occasional Twinkie. About every 10 years or so, I eat one for nostalgia’s sake.

Ding Dongs that every child in the 80’s wanted in their lunch boxes and almost never got if you had a Mother like mine. I would never have thought that anyone would think that Twinkies or Ding Dongs are a “healthier option” to, well, anything.

While Michelle Obama’s push for healthier lunches got mixed reviews, something is considerably wrong if there is anyone in our country that thinks Twinkies and Ding Dongs are a healthier food option. We need to bring back Home Economics classes for all students. We need to be teaching them about cooking and nutrition. Yes, parents should be the first line person to teach such things, but not all parents are knowledgeable in these subjects, and we should give kids access to learning these basic life skills.

In Japan children are taught from an early age about nutrition and that what you put into your body affects the way you feel. Their school lunches, while they might not pass muster with American children, still show a great example of healthy meals that look and taste great. Vegetables, fruit, a little meat, some rice, maybe some yogurt. We don’t have to have unhealthy food to have food that tastes good, and frequently the unhealthy food can easily be made just a little bit healthier. And Japan has the lowest obesity rate in the world. Stack that up against our country, which has the highest percent of obese people in the world.

The former First Lady’s plan was blamed for the disgusting lunches which is probably a little unfair. If you have ever eaten lunch with your child at school, or remember from your own school lunches, school lunches were not stellar masterpieces of cuisine. (Except for the peanut butter bars. Those were worth their weight in gold!) School lunches can be made to taste better and with healthier options. A good cook can make anything taste good, which is why her idea to pair local chefs with schools was a great and should be expanded. Think about what your child’s experience with food would be if they were given healthy food that actually tasted great. They would be far more likely to eat those “disgusting” vegetables.

For one of my children, Ranch dressing will entice him to eat a lot of vegetables. A Nutritionist once told me to let my kids eat all the ketchup they wanted. It’s loaded with lycopene which is good for the heart. Grilled veggies are a popular choice in my household. My kids eat asparagus grilled with a little olive oil, garlic and salt. It’s superb. Choose what works for you and your family.

As your children start back to school this year, ask yourself, do they know what healthy eating is? We are failing our kids if they leave our homes without a basic knowledge of this. Remember, someone put this display of Twinkies and Ding Dongs together in a store saying they were “healthier options”. That should tell you something.

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