The Four A's of Fiber: "Remember the four A’s of fiber: apples, artichokes, apricots, and avocados. "

Friday, February 16, 2007

What Happened to Hungry Teenagers?

I teach 8th graders. Every day I ask them, "Did you eat this morning?" Nine times out of ten they say, "No."

Then they get my lecture. You'd think they'd learn to lie just to avoid it! You see, I have a real problem with children not eating before they go to school and are expected to actually participate in the learning process.

And it has nothing to do with affording breakfast or lunch. They choose not to eat.

The same is true for my class right after lunch. "Did you eat today?"

"No," and they have a variety of reasons why.

"I hung out with my friends instead."

"I forgot my lunch."

"I gave my lunch to someone else." That one sounds like a lie to me. Most kids just aren't that nice.

"I had to go make up a test at lunch."

"Oh, I never eat lunch."

Boys and girls alike. Teenagers just aren't eating much these days.

I have two teenage boys at home and they eat more at one sitting than most families of four. Most parents are forewarned about the changing metabolism of teenagers and how they "inhale" food. But I have to admit, getting my own to eat in the morning is a struggle. They just claim they're not hungry, even though their body has been fasting since dinner the night before.

Brains need protein to grow and think! Our teenagers brains are starving. This certainly explains a lot!

Then there's teenage emotions. One of my students, who already struggles with every subject area, got quite upset the other day because she discovered that her best friend's boyfriend was cheating on her. She took this very personally and told one of her friends, "I'm going anorexic!" as if in protest.

Our attachment to food is severely warped. As an Italian I grew up knowing this about food, "Live to eat, not eat to live." But most teens just don't have any appreciation for food. At this point I just want them to at the very least EAT TO LIVE.

If you make sure your children eat before they go to school, good for you! But don't just assume they actually eat at lunch. More often than not, they don't.

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