Pets Eat Better Than Most Kids

angel-fruit.JPGI’ve been making my own dog food for over a year. It all began when my two little pooches got sick. The vet recommended I purchase expensive canned food for them. He didn’t encourage me when I said I would make their food instead. It turns out that vets don’t like the idea of people making dog chow. Know why? Vets are concerned we will feed our dogs “people food.”

What’s wrong with people food? For the most part it doesn’t support health. The sad truth is that most of America’s children don’t eat as well as their pets. That’s saying a lot, because most pet food is highly processed. At least pet food has measured amounts of nutrients for animals.

Only two percent of children meet the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid’s recommendations for a healthy diet. One quarter of children ages 5 to 10 years old have early warning signs for heart disease, such as elevated blood cholesterol or high blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes.

Angel loves fruit!

“Adult onset” has been dropped from type 2 diabetes label, because up to 45 percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes do NOT have type one, but type 2. Type 2 diabetes is directly connected to the processed sugary foods kids eat and is avoidable. Today, people eat one hundred and fifty pounds of sugar in a year. Yikes, that’s two-and-a-half pounds of sugar each week! Kids consume more sugar than their parents.

We have picky kids because we fill our pantries with highly processed food items and we regularly take toddlers to fast food places. We purchase snack items, lacking nutrients, because we don’t think of snacks as food. Chips, cookies, crackers, and candy take the place of healthful fruit and veggies.

I’ve heard moms say that fruit is too expensive, yet they find the money to purchase junk foods. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of a serving of fruit or vegetable is 25 cents per serving. I stopped in Safeway today to compare the price of organic fruit (fruit is a cheaper if you don’t purchase organic) to junk foods. Veggies, like carrots, celery and snap peas, would be less expensive than fruit. I didn’t see any savings when purchasing junky snack items.

This is what I found:
One organic banana is about 35 cents.
Two ounces of organic raisins is about 40 cents.
One organic apple from a 3 pound bag is about 55 cents.

A candy bar costs about 80 cents.
A single-serving bag of chips is about 70 cents.
One oatmeal cookie from a box containing a dozen is about 25 cents.
One vanilla ice cream bar from a box of 6 is about 45 cents.

Last year, I researched purchasing whole foods on a food stamp budget. I found that it’s possible on a very limited income to eat whole foods, including fruit and veggies. Obviously, costly processed snacks (chips, cookies, candy) were not included in my budget. Whole foods, like fresh produce, whole grains, and dairy, satisfy hunger and pack a lot of nutrition into a few bites. Each calorie is nutrient-dense with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and essential amino and fatty acids. Whole foods take longer to digest, warding off food cravings between meals.

Your children, even picky eaters, will eat healthy snacks, when all you have in your kitchen are whole foods. Instead of processed snack foods, purchase fruit and veggies. Make hot-air popcorn and smoothie or fruit juice Popsicles. YUMMY! Healthy snack ideas are limitless: Pumpkin or sunflower seeds, edamame, plain yogurt mixed with a mashed banana and topped with granola, apple slices dipped in peanut or almond butter. I could go on, but you get the idea.

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