Don’t Raise Finicky Eaters.

March 2, 2009 at 7:31 am 2 comments

 I have heard many parents lament that little Jack or little Jill will only eat fried chicken nuggets. This is not true at all, little Jack or little Jill will eat whatever you tell them to eat. You just have to tell them. If they do not, you punish them. Whether you spank, ground, or do the time-out thing it does not matter. Whatever form a discipline you use to teach your children right from wrong, use it and they will eat whatever you tell them to eat.  And they will live longer, healthier lives for it.

Now to come to little Jack or little Jill’s defense, most of the time when I hear a parent say, “they will only eat fried chicken nuggets,” it is a lie. It is easier for the parents to drop by the local drive-thru than it is to actually teach their children to eat healthy. Or heaven forbid, cook them something.

I have had many a parent tell me that children should not be made to eat things they do not like. When I delve a little deeper it is not based on psycology, it is because they hated it when their parents did that to them. What?! I hated it when my father wouldn’t let me play cops and robbers with his loaded 357 magnum but that doesn’t mean that I will let a child play with a loaded firearm.

I can hear those denial-steeped parents now, “That’s not the same thing.” Isn’t it? The numbers don’t lie:

The number one health risk facing children today is obesity, affecting one in every four.  That beats out cancer and child diabetes, both of which are also linked in part or in whole to diet.  It also beats out accidental firearm accidents.

Let’s take a look at the chemical make-up of those ever popular nugget meals shall we?

McDonald’s McNugget Happy Meal contains four pieces of fried chicken, a soda and French fries. As a whole the meal contains 23g of total fat, 3.5 are saturated, and they claim zero grams of trans fats.  I say “claim” because they have claimed that before only to be exposed.  The recommended fat intake for a child is 60 – 80g with no more than 20% coming from sat-fats.  From the standpoint of fats, it isn’t terrible.  It also contains 69.5g of carbohydrates, 29.5 of which are in the standard soda and all of that is from high fructose corn syrup.  That is an insane amount of carbs for a child.  A large framed adult male should not have more than 70 in a day and this one meal intended for a child has that much.

Shocking isn’t it?  And that’s just the stuff McDonald’s has to tell you is in their kids meals.  Did you know that less than 50% of that wholesome Chicken McNugget is actually chicken?  Among the other ingredients you will find are vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oil (both of which are trans fats), dimethylpolysiloxene (a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigen, and reproductive effector), and my personal favorite tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) a petroleum product that is a form of butane.  Ingesting one little gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.”  Holy Schnikies!

So the next time little Jack or little Jill throw a tantrum over their chicken nuggets just tell them to calm down and eat their turkey sandwich.


Related story – check out the 12 year old burger by Karen Hanrahan.


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


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