Offering The Chance To Change The Pattern: Kids and Salad Bars

If you’ve ever talk to me for more than five seconds then you know that these two right here are are just….wow….I can’t explain it. Photo Aug 26, 4 30 24 PMThey are the best expression of everything good in me.

Both of my children write.  My daughter dances.  My son runs (I used to back in the day.  Waaaaay back in the day.) They both love books.  They are both kind hearted.  My son is my early morning buddy.  He’ll get up with me before everyone else.  My daughter is my shopping bud.  She won’t get upset while I talk about how I wish all clothes fit like my workout clothes and she’ll pick out clothes for me to try on and randomly find something for herself.  They are both active, creative, they both love music and they both love….….salad bars.

I mean REALLY love salad bars.

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I can remember having a conversation with my daughter when she was probably four (no older than five) about why she couldn’t have the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday’s. (It was NOT on the kid’s menu and they wanted me to pay extra.)  She wanted us to just pay for it.  And we did.  (By the way, my son stop eating kid’s meal long before he turned ten.  Everything he ordered was extra but I digress.)  Both of my children knew what they wanted more of and less of (although they both eat all vegetables) at the salad bar.  My children also knew how to make salads.  It was called “dump what we have the fridge and make it work.”  We’ve had some very interesting salads around here.   But they’ve eaten them (did I mention they like all fruits as well?).  People ask me all of the time how do I get my kids to eat vegetables and fruit?  Honestly, I never really thought about it.  My children know what apples they like (they both really like honeycrisp), what type of tomatoes (yellow tiger stripes are my son’s favorite.  My daughter is o.k. with heirlooms but she’ll eat them all) and as for lettuce, well, we eat all of those greens but if I’m cooking them, my son doesn’t care and my daughter prefers turnips.  I thought that was normal.

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Until I thought of my own childhood.

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It’s not that we didn’t eat fruits and vegetables.  But I ate what was available to me.  Apples?  Green.  Yellow. Red.  What in the world is a Pink Lady and Fuji? (do you know there are over seven THOUSAND varieties of apples worldwide? I got that from BestApples.com.  Who knew?) Tomatoes?  Just the ones that weren’t bruised.  Lettuce.  In the cellophane wrap, please. (That would be iceberg lettuce) And WHAT is arugula, zucchini, minneola oranges?  What are radishes, green onions, shitake mushrooms, kale, sprouts, garbanzo beans? Things that my children would just throw on a salad?

I lived in a lower income neighborhood and we just didn’t have access to all of this stuff.  And, luckily for me, as I got older, I was exposed to people who were, I learned and taught my family.  But what about the ones who aren’t like me?  And why should they have to wait until they are almost thirty to experience different vegetables or even have the opportunity to increase their fruit and vegetable intake?  From the eyes of the media, it’s easy to believe that lower income families CHOOSE to eat poorly, choose to not make nutrition their highest priority.  Let me assure that is not the case.  When you have no car and are on a limited budget, you get what you can get to and that isn’t always about macro nutrients.  It’s about survival.

Whole Foods Buckhead

When I was in Atlanta last weekend, I had the chance to go into Whole Foods In Buckhead (probably my most favorite Whole Foods.  And I’m not sure why but love is love.)  And if you know me then you know that’s like recess.  Again, people call it “Whole Paycheck” and they don’t like it but, to someone who doesn’t have access to one all of the time and had never seen anything like that (or was even interested until later on in life), it is still fascinating to me.  When the cashier asked me did I want to round up my total to help bring salad bars to schools, I immediately remembered the conversation I had with Shane Emmett, CEO of Health Warrior, (you know I LOVE me some Chia Bars!)  back in June at FitBloggin when he told me this project was getting ready to happen.  It didn’t occur to me that it was all the same….until I saw a link from Health Warrior promoting it on Facebook. Annnnnnnd they are giving away a 2 month supply of bars for entering a contest where you aren’t even BUYING anything. You’re just spreading the word about this movement. Oh my goodness! How cool is that? (Here’s my tweet with the link!!)

Health Warrior Chia Bars Coconut

I took to Twitter and started thanking people for participating, companies I love like Vega, Zico, Suja, Annie’s, Tom’s of Maine and Kind Bars for participating.  I’ve been thinking about this all day.  Because we don’t know if the only decent meal a child is getting is at school.  And a child’s address shouldn’t determine whether he/she gets to eat romaine lettuce or have a decision as to whether they like green leaf instead.

I’m challenging you to visit Whole Kids Foundation and read about this movement.  If you don’t have time to read, you can text “SALAD” to 20222 and it will donate $10 to the movement.  Because what we are doing is investing in kids like me who will, one day, teach others to live healthier lifestyles because the pattern was changed.

As for my children, well, I wish there was a foundation set up for their lunch accounts because, again, they feel like the salad bar is their privilege. They don’t understand limits so they eat like it’s free.  Sigh.  Oh well.  It’s a small price to pay for such a large return. 🙂

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