Sometimes it’s the only thing on the menu for elementary school kids in Huntington, West Virginia, where more than 1 in 3 children are obese. The kids don’t seem to mind--and the ladies serving up the processed pizza think it’s a satisfactory slice of nutrition--but renowned chef Jamie Oliver is determined to change their thinking---and their menu.
A French Fry is Not a Vegetable
In his new ABC series “Jamie Oliver: Food Revolution,” the plucky British chef takes on the eating habits of the small town of Huntington, rated the unhealthiest city in America. The series, which premiers March 26th, offers a sobering glimpse into the nutritional know-how of Huntington’s children: when Oliver holds up a tomato to a classroom of 2nd graders, they have no idea what it is. All they really know about food comes in the form of nuggets and patties, bagged snacks and flavored, sugared milk. This is hardly surprising when we learn that the school cooks consider a French fry a vegetable.
Did you know that the shocking result of poor nutrition in some parts of USA is a generation of children projected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents?
If Huntington, West Virginia is even slightly indicative of what’s going on around the rest of the country, Jamie Oliver certainly has his work cut out for him. But he’s up for the challenge: Oliver has already “revolutionized” school nutrition in his native Britain, successfully moving junk-filled vending machines out and bringing fresh, natural foods in. He believes good nutrition can be affordable to everyone in this country and he wants to make an example out of the fast-food loving people of Huntington. He’s up against a prickly population who don’t like his ideas or the taste of his food. Yet. It will be interesting to see if and how his food and dance theatrics, along with his impassioned pleas, impact this community.
Don’t All Kids Hate Vegetables?
Moms have always had to cajole their kids to eat their greens. It’s an age-old struggle. But as processed foods dominate supermarket aisles, with their low-prices and high flavor (thanks to lots of sodium and sugar), has the challenge to feed our children healthy food taken on a new dimension? Raising our kids to eat well is no longer just a dinner-table battle over carrots and peas. It’s about instilling values in our children about food and nutrition in a world filled with a lot of empty calories. What’s your take?