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Five to Nine Worries

We just had our granddaughters for two weeks-- the greatest joy in the world!   It had been far too long.   They are growing into great young ladies;  good looking, honest, smart, talented and helpful.  Their parents are raising them to be that way, not an easy thing to do in today's world.

After their visit, though, I was once again reminded of the reason we started the Sneaky Kitchen.  

The above title- Five to Nine Worries- doesn't refer to the song or the Dolly Parton movie, Nine to Five,  but to the veggie and fruit shortage.  Not a shortage in supply, but a shortage in the average kid's diet.   Somehow the message isn't taking.   The government and health organizations have a campaign to encourage everyone to eat at least five servings each and every day.   Optimally, this should average 3.3 servings of  vegetables and 1.5 servings of fruit.   

One of my granddaughters (I won't name names) who regularly gets a "granny lecture" on improving her eating habits, pointed out near the end of her visit that she had eaten some veggies since she'd been here-  iceberg lettuce, tomato, potatoes and corn.  Except for tomatoes,  THOSE DON'T COUNT!!!!  If you have five servings each day of dark leafy veggies, tomatoes, cruciferous and dark orange or yellow ones, plus fruits, especially bananas, citrus, berries and orange ones like mango or cantaloupe, THEN you can count corn, iceberg lettuce, potatoes and diluted fruit juices, etc. as the other four of the optimum nine, if you like! Otherwise, fagedabowdit.  And note that while pure juices count as a fruit, they do not contain the fiber one needs for best health.   I had to point out that the total of all the "veggies and fruits" she had eaten during her entire two week visit was about what she should eat daily!  She was not amused.  I informed her that at her age, she was the one that had to make a decision on learning to like these items that nature provides to maintain our health.  Or not.  She'd have to live with the consequences.  By the time it caught up with her, I wouldn't be around to see it.

Parents!   If you don't personally eat Five to Nine daily, please start doing so if it gags you.  And serve a wide selection of nature's wealth to your small children.  Learn to cook and sauce them deliciously.  Cut them into small pieces; add them to favorite foods.  Offer small servings. Be creative.  Start when they are very young; in their teens there's little you can do.  You cannot force them to eat them.  You shouldn't nag them to eat them.  But if you remove from the house all snacks, chips, cookies, ice cream, candy, crackers, etc. until they do learn to eat Five to Nine, (and you eat those power foods yourself) you have a chance to provide a great heritage for your kids - better health for many, many years to come.

By the way, there's no guarantees here.  Sometimes nothing works.  Some kids just have to learn the hard way.  Just do the best you can while they're small.  Please.

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