Middle School Moments: Diet

Category: , By Christian
Urban Black America has a weight problem. Genetics are a contributing factor to both weight and cardiovascular health. Soul food contributes. Not that I don't love soul food. I'll belly up to the Peach Tree Buffet as fast as the next guy, but I'm not interested in getting the details of my caloric and fat intake following the feast. Economics play a role as well. Cheap foods don't tend to be the healthiest foods. You ever seen a Wild Oats in the middle of the 'hood? Didn't think so.

One of the big struggles at The Hope Center is to get the kids to eat a balanced diet. They love hot chips and soda. But like a lot of kids their age, veggies and low-fat options don't float their collective boat. So we've instituted a policy at meal time where you have to heat a serving of fruits or veggies before you get a (moderately sized) desert. Just trying to institute some healthy habits in the mix.

As you can imagine, it's a constant struggle. Part of it is the gamesmanship of trying to get out of a stipulated practice. Good thing we have Love and Logic. "I'll be happy to hook you up with a dessert once you've eaten your fruit".

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a school cafeteria a couple of weeks ago, and found five of my seventh grade boys chowing down on...

Salad. A huge honkin' green salad with turkey and other assorted veggies. Topped off with a small cup of ranch or honey mustard dressing.

Me: Uhhhhh. What are you guys eating?

Boys: Salad. Duh.

Me: Did you guys forget your lunch money today?

Boys: No. We get it every day.

Me. What spurred this development?

Boys: We're trying out for basketball. We have to build our muscles.

I didn't have the heart to tell the fellas that they would need a little more protein to build their man muscles. Who cares? They were voluntarily eating a healthy meal. It was so cute.

Renew and Restore

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