During the month of February, Time Warner Cable News is committed to informing our viewers of the sometimes alarming trends facing our kids' health as well as provide helpful tips for busy parents. Get more information on Fit Kids February, including the Fit Kids Challenge, healthy shopping suggestions and ways you can get involved to help make you and your children healthier!
It's the oldest saying in the book: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
"Health begins with what we put in our bodies,” says GrowNYC Greenmarket director Michael Hurwitz. “We know that processed food and industrial produced is destroying our bodies as we have disproportionate rates of obesity and diabetes.”
The problem is, processed foods meet what are all too often our modern day priorities: They are fast and they are cheap.
"It is a failed food policy on a national level when a bag of potato chips is cheaper than a potato," says Hurwitz.
Raised on processed foods themselves, many parents may not want to spend money on fresh produce they do not know how to cook. The Fresh Food Box Program of GrowNYC addresses two of those concerns. Each week, participants get a bag of farm fresh foods and recipe suggestions to go with it. The cost: $10 dollars, although the value is usually around $20.
"I think as parents we don't necessarily know what a purple cabbage looks like, which is what we are getting today. But now we know," says Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
Hurwitz understands that better quality foods may cost more. For example, pasture-raised meat is certainly more expensive than it's industrialized counterpart.
"There's less shrinkage when you cook the product, there are cheaper cuts you can buy and there are ways to use that entire animal that actually makes that product much more affordable,” he says.
With produce, he says there are two words to remember. The first is ‘local.’
"When fruits and vegetables are harvested to travel 3,000 miles, it's picked before it's nutritionally mature. It's covered in wax or another chemical to preserve it. It's going to have a shorter shelf life, so by the time you are done throwing away half of what you bought, it actually became twice as expensive," says Hurwitz.
The second world is ‘seasonal.’ Items in season cost less and, he says, they taste better. Hurwitz also says if you get kids to eat healthy foods when they are young, you are setting them up for a lifelong love affair with real food.
"When you introduce them to good food and good tasting food, that's what they want," he says.