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Normal eating may still include sweets

Manatee County schools -- Kinnan Elementary, in particular -- are setting an excellent example of what school systems nationwide should be doing to feed children. As an expert in treating people with eating and weight problems, I can vouch for the fact that what we learn in childhood about food and eating shapes appetite patterns for the rest of our life.

My main concern with Kinnan's approach is that children will be taught that there are morally good and bad foods by making people feel they are bad for eating sweets and treats ("junk" food) and good for eating fiber and vegetables.

A better approach is instructing children that some foods are highly nutritious and others are not, and showing them how health develops from a balanced, varied, satisfying diet. "Normal" eating includes a range of foods, including sweets and treats, and children need to recognize that these foods have their place in life along with healthier choices.

I hope that Kinnan and Manatee County are able to teach students not only what to eat, but how to make the entire eating process nourishing and enjoyable.

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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