A Letter to Parents

This has been a great season of NBC’s The Biggest Loser so far!  I loved this past week’s episode about facing your fears.  The contestants overcame some fears that have been holding them back, and it was very inspiring.  However, one segment of this episode made me very very sad!

This season, they have 3 kids on the show.  They had the kids participate in the face your fear challenge as well.  One of the kid’s (Bingo) biggest fear, according to his mom, is vegetables. Really?!  He is a 13 year old boy who has never been made to eat vegetables his whole life, and is actually afraid of them. So for the “challenge” Bob instructs Bingo’s mom to puree veggies and hide them in his food.  His mom is nervous as Bingo tastes the meatloaf that is full of pureed vegetables.  Both parents are so excited that Bingo cleans his plate.  When they tell Bingo that he ate vegetables, he is grossed out, but tells his mom that if she keeps hiding them in his food, he guesses he’ll eat them.

So many things wrong with this picture!

1. Why is a 13 year old getting to dictate what he eats?  I know at 13, he should be able to start making his own choices. (But, I’m sorry, he’s not buying the groceries or cooking the meals…)  As a parent, when you see that those choices aren’t good, you step in.  Also, if his parents had made him eat his vegetables as a small child, this would be a totally different story.  I don’t think “fear” would be the emotion. He might still be grossed out because he’s a 13 year boy, but he would be used to vegetables, not afraid of vegetables. I know that it’s hard work to get “picky” kids to eat green things.  But it’s also hard to work to teach them to tie their shoes, right?  School work or learning a sport is hard work too. But we take the time, and put in the effort when it comes to things like that.  Shouldn’t we do the same when it come to our child’s life-long health?

2. He did not face a fear at all!  Hiding vegetables in his food in know way confronts his fear of vegetables.  He didn’t even know they were there! And it certainly does not teach him how to enjoy them or why he should eat them.  When he’s out on his own, will he still be making baby food to hide in his food?  I mean, come on. Kids deserve to know what they are eating, where it came from, and what it tastes like.  They should be educated on what is good for them.  Then when they are on their own, they have healthy habits in place, they know what’s best for them, and THEN they can choose what they want to eat.

Our children’s health is our responsibility, and we need to step up to the plate! Parent’s, I know you want all the best things for your kids, and I just think that should include what they eat.

Side note: hiding veggies in food seems like a lot of work.  In my house, you eat what you’re given.  If you don’t, then you’re hungry.  I can promise you that you’re kid will not, in fact, starve himself, and that this really only takes a few times before there is no fight at the table. (I’m sure there are some kids that take longer.  And of course the older they are when you start this, the more time it will take.  Just do it.) And guess what? My kids are NOT “picky” eaters!  They eat all kinds of vegetables, and try new things all the time. Of course there are things they don’t like, so we serve them sparingly, but they DID try them.  I’m just sayin’. 🙂

You can watch this full episode of NBC’s The Biggest Loser  here.