Hey, there! Log in / Register

The Olympic challenge: Getting kids to eat their vegetables

The latest in a series of editorial calls to action on how the Olympics can reshape every single facet of life in Boston.

It's no secret that kids need to eat their vegetables to grow up strong and healthy and become productive members of society. And yet, so many Boston children refuse to eat their kale and their lima beans. We are, frankly, at risk of producing a generation of neurasthenic adults, barely able to get off their couches, let alone turn Boston into the world-class city it deserves to be.

Boston doesn't get too many chances to reimagine a future in which our children boldly march into the world, but that's the opportunity the city now has with the potential arrival of the 2024 Olympics.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has said only that the city wants its kids to be healthy. Instead, he should treat them like the very future of our society that they are, and convene a wide-ranging discussion, tied to the 2024 Olympic bid, about the children of tomorrow.

Olympic athletes are the cream of the crop, at the very peak of their physical prowess. And how did they get that way? Not from snarfing down powdered donuts and cereal with the nutritional equivalence of a bowl of sugar, that's for sure. The Olympics give us a rare, once-in-a-lifetime way to impress on the generation to come the importance of body-building nutrients that come only from eating vegetables. Imagine Olympians boldly striding into our children's schools and playgrounds, eagerly chomping down on endive and raw carrots and handing out asparagus stalks.

Boston's Olympic boosters talk up the bid as a chance to make the region tackle big challenges. What bigger challenge can there be than the very future of our society? If the mayor and the city do indeed think big, they can create a legacy that will keep Boston at the forefront for decades to come.

Tomorrow: How the Olympics can turn us all into good drivers.

Topics: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Worked out well for John Belushi, although the little chocolate doughnuts turned out to be a gateway drug to the harder stuff.

up
Voting closed 0

Why are we supposed to like Kale and Lima Beans? Kids shouldn't be forced to eat something they truly dislike. I am lucky to be old enough to tell whomever is making me eat Kale and Lima Beans to go to hell.

'Back in my day', we didn't have this problem. Mom didn't purposefully cook what we didn't like, but we ate what she cooked and she didn't do special orders.

We were expected to eat what was on our plate, and that included vegetables. I don't understand why vegetables are so foreign to some kids.

I think the larger issue is there isn't as much home cooked meals any longer. Were we healthier as kids, compared to kids now a days? I think so. We didn't need Kale shakes, or even vitamins (I still refuse to take them). We weren't brought up on processed, pre packaged food and I think that helps.

Our generation, for the most part, were lucky to have most of our meals cooked at home. The few times we got taken to McDonalds was a real treat.

up
Voting closed 0

These days it seems that McDonald's is the norm and a homecooked meal is the treat. Sadly. Prices for fresh food at the grocery store are astronomical. I don't know how a family of 4 on a strict budget can afford to eat healthy meals, buy clothes, pay for health insurance, pay the rent, pay for school supplies, and so on and so forth. It's just plain expensive.

up
Voting closed 0

This actually isn't true but is a common misconception. The documentary Fed Up explains this. It's actually half as expensive to eat from the grocery store, and healthy none the less, then it is at fast food when buying so called "value meals". The dollar menu has little impact on this fact because you end up buying more things off of it.

up
Voting closed 0

Did they have satire back in the day?

up
Voting closed 0

For starters, we talked about *eating* kids rather than what kids eat.

up
Voting closed 0

When someone takes your satire at face value (they don't get that it's satire,) what does it say about the satire? About the reader?

up
Voting closed 0

Can upvotes be satirical?

up
Voting closed 0

.

up
Voting closed 0

I stink at satire.

up
Voting closed 0

...A Modest Proposal (a/k/a A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick).

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm

up
Voting closed 0

Kids shouldn't be forced to eat something they truly dislike.

<snip>

Mom didn't purposefully cook what we didn't like, but we ate what she cooked and she didn't do special orders.

You we-walked-five-miles-uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow types are slipping. Usually you wait a few days between contradictory points, to make it tougher to point them out.

up
Voting closed 0

I think Patricia would like this article

http://widelawns.blogspot.com/2014/08/back-to-school-70s-vs-today-lot-ha...

(I like it too.. it really was that way in the 70s (and 80s too)

(and no, Patricia, it's suppose to make you laugh and smile.. not be a knock)

EDIT: changed link because former link's website was fubar'd

up
Voting closed 0

I obviously didn't make myself clear. We weren't forced to eat what we didn't like; Lima Beans would be a great example, because my mother wouldn't cook something she knew her kids didn't like. Making a child eat something they truly detested is a horrible thing to do. (Although, I just remembered meatless Fridays, which paints my mother in a totally different light.)

But, we ate what we were given. My mother cooked foods we liked, maybe not loved, but nothing as horrible as Lima Beans. Pizza for supper - never had it until I was out of the house (married). Fast food? Other than the odd trip to McDonalds, never. Take out - again, never had it growing up.
Sure, I would've loved to have Pizza nights, or such, but I was deprived of those childhood memories because I had a mother that insisted on home cooked nutritious meals.

Not contradictory at all.

And yes, a mile walk to school with only the hill coming home, I had it easier than most. But we did it in all kinds of weather, if that counts ;) .

up
Voting closed 0

home-cooked pizza was a special treat that my father ocassionally made by hand on Saturday nights. And, although Dad wasn't even part Italian, my recollection is that he made a very good pizza.

up
Voting closed 0

When will we see a piece in the Globe on how bringing the Olympics to Boston will cure previously untreatable cancers?

up
Voting closed 0

Or maybe it's about how the Olympics will finally get us all those flying cars we've been promised since the '60s.

up
Voting closed 0

...how the Olympics will force the Red Sox to assemble a quality pitching rotation.

(EDIT: In fact, this could be an amazing tack to take in our home lives. "I know that creaky garbage disposal needs to be replaced, sweetheart; that's why I'm hoping the IOC picks Boston so I'll have the incentive to get it done"

up
Voting closed 0

all the shot put Olympic competitors ...

up
Voting closed 0

The Jetsons has been named the Official Old TV Cartoon of Boston 2024.

up
Voting closed 0

Through the magic of Olympics, there will be 6 parking spots for every triple-decker, drivers and cyclists will lay down together, and no one would let a person with major business before the city buy the newspaper of record.

up
Voting closed 0

can have up to a dozen chickens in every yard, residents can park any motorized vehicle within ten feet of a dwelling, and businesses can sell beer, wine, and liquor without interference from the Licensing Board.

Time to cue the Suzie Derkins quote And while we're dreaming, ....

up
Voting closed 0

I remember visiting some past Olympic cities in the last couple of years (as all good tourists do, I plan my trips around cities that have been elevated to world-class status by the IOC - cities that never would have made my radar otherwise) and was impressed by how well-mannered and obedient the children of those cities were.

Between the gangs of youths who gather at street corners in London to wish a pleasant day to passers-by, to the urchins in Rome who ran up to me to return my wallet which I had mistakenly dropped a few blocks away, to the fact that Salt Lake City isn't at all full of freakishly smiling teen automatons, I really saw that Olympic cities are wonderful cities.

I can only assume it's for the very reasons you describe.

up
Voting closed 0

In yesterday's Globe made me wonder why the city doesn't arrange tax incremental financing to support things like the school athletics programs. We shouldn't do this just for the Olympics and other boondoggles like the liberty mutual building. Truly disappointing that the state of extracurricular activities in Boston is so poor. These are items that make middle class families decide that they can't force their kids to stick it out in BPS and instead head to milton, brookline, etc etc.

up
Voting closed 0

Look for the campaign donations to the mayor from the Birds Eye company. And don't think we don't know that the G in adamg is Greengiant, which family stands to profit immensely from a taxpayer-funded boost in vegetable consumption. Now we see that the trans-fat bans were just setting the stage for the real swindle.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has said only that the city wants its kids to be healthy

Why doesn't he get in shape, eat cleanly, and lead by example?

up
Voting closed 0

That's a third degree burn.

up
Voting closed 0

vegetables, kids, Olympics, kids, vegetables...?

up
Voting closed 0

And assumes one actually still reads Globe editorials, which is an assumption I probably shouldn't make. But over the past month or so, the Globe has run a series of editorials on how the Olympics will make Boston just the goldarnediest, world-classiest city EVAR, most recently yesterday, in which they painted a charming little picture about how, if only we got the Olympics, we could run trains from Allston to MIT (they referred to "a new station in the Kenmore Square area," but I think they meant Kendall) over that rusty old train bridge over the Charles, and never mind how the guy who is now running the Olympic effort was the same guy who bought the bridge to run trains to North Station and then dropped that idea like six months later. So I started thinking how else could the Olympics make us even better?

up
Voting closed 0

I am really gullible. I mean if you say you have a nice piece of reasonable priced land in Florida, slightly wet but otherwise in great shape, I will buy it. I actually thought this was a new initiative of Mayor Walsh. I know, really gullible.

BTW: Great job on the satire and I look forward to reading more.

up
Voting closed 0

I appreciate the satire. It's is not without basis in reality.

Boston 2024 said Boston 2024 was an opportunity for city-wide land-use planning. In reality, it big foots existing BRA-approved plans and it does so without meeting with the people who contributed to them.

It became even more apparent in yesterday's AP article where a Boston 2024 rep said they're under pressure to create a city plan for the next 15 years. Bid (2.0) is due this summer. Where the opportunity for the public to engage in a land-use plan? It isn't, that's where.

Take a look at the plan the folks at Fort Point developed. It's good. Compare it to what Boston 2024 came up with--it serves the purposes of a 3 week international event and leaves legacies no one in Fort Point wants; Legacy the white elephant. The plan Fort Piont has is a terrific mixed-use livable city neighborhood, Boston 2024, not so much.

up
Voting closed 0

I can say, seeing Brighton High students in the morning buying breakfast at the convenience store, that things like kale and lima beans don't have a chance. When a normal breakfast is a bag of cookies or chips, not even pop tarts... let alone cereal or fruit... what do you expect?

Now I was not the best eater either in my younger years, but even I had limits that Pringles for breakfast would have crossed.

up
Voting closed 0

up
Voting closed 0

You can't out-parody the Olympics themselves, I guess.

Feeding the Olympics, December, 2007:

"Most of the food at major events and tourist attractions in the UK, particularly food aimed at children, is currently poor quality – with low nutritional, environmental, animal welfare and social standards. Given the London 2012 emphasis on inspiring the young to embrace healthy living and physical achievement, it is particularly important that the Games sets a good example. Despite the poor standards of much food at tourist attractions, there are plenty of examples of good practice, serving healthy, local, and freshly produced food. Many schools across the country are already meeting the Soil Association ‘Food for Life’ standards of 50% local, 30% organic, and 75% unprocessed food.

up
Voting closed 0

I think something got lost between 2007 and 2012.

up
Voting closed 0

Amsterdam last had the Olympics in 1928, well before the "killing children" protests, yet they built transit systems and places to walk and bike that allow kids of school age to get around independently and remain fit. Fat Dutch kids do exist, but they are rare and even then they bike everywhere! And taking transit induces people to walk a lot more than they would if they were in cars.

We just need the political will! Let's vastly improve things for non-car travel in the city and then we can talk about the Olympics!

up
Voting closed 0

While I support a healthier America.. but

Fat Dutch kids do exist, but they are rare and even then they bike everywhere!

I know too many American Kids who are glued to Netflix, PS4, or whatever technology is hip these days. Too busy to like go outside and bike!

And we wonder why childhood obesity is a big deal now.. we're far too sedentary.

up
Voting closed 0

This isn't recreation - it is transportation. Typical "commute" is 6-8km round trip up to age 12, 8-12 km in the upper grades.

up
Voting closed 0

I've taken bike trips in the Netherlands twice. They've built bike tracks all over the country as extensive as sidewalks and highways in the US and they have their own signs and their own traffic lights in the city. It's really cool and it's a great way to get around.

On the first trip, we rode from Amsterdam,NL to Brussels,BE then on to Reims,FR, then Paris and finally Tours in the Loire River valley.

On the second trip, we went from Amsterdam north along the IJsselmeer , formerly Zuider Zee, then west to Texel and then south along the coast.

When you're on a bike track, you don't worry about traffic and you feel safe. It turns out this is a key factor in whether riders opt to ride instead of drive. Bikers respect sidewalks and walkers respect bike tracks.

I've ridden in Germany, Austria and Hungary too but not Denmark which has also invested in infrastructure for bicycles. The best one I've seen is in the Netherlands. I wish we would do the same.

up
Voting closed 0

no hills.

(Yes, I know, it's pretty flat here in Boston compared to a lot of the US. But we do have a few nice ones. )

up
Voting closed 0

Childhood obesity is complex. You are dealing with neighborhood safety, for some kids, and the lack of ability to go outside and play without getting shot. You are also dealing, perhaps, with family culture; what is eaten in a family may not be the most healthy but it might be a tradition. We eat a whole lot more processed foods than we used to, including sugary drinks, juices (which contain loads of sugar), sodas, Gatorade and the like. Plus the issues of stress eating, which are very real for both adults and children. I guess I am just saying that there are a lot of issues, in my mind, behind why someone is obese.

up
Voting closed 0

Well yeah.. I do know there are other reasons why we have such high childhood obesity. I didn't say there wasn't.

But my point was to Swirly's comment about biking. Kids are very stagnant these days in the US vs kids elsewhere. Like she replied, they use it as transportation. Here we have soccer mom's busing kids everywhere (if the school bus doesn't do that already).. kids don't ride bikes because they don't have to. (unlike their European counterparts)

up
Voting closed 0

http://www.dutchdailynews.com/overweight-and-obesity-in-the-netherlands-...

Your desire to get every living creature on a bike is clouding your normal "stats please" objectivity which we rely on.

Although to be objective:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/dutch-turn-around-obesity-epidemic-...

However, it appears, that the Dutch, like most of us, are having issues keeping their weight in check and no one place is a panacea.

up
Voting closed 0

This was as much "response satire" as Adam's article was satire ...

All developed countries are fighting the bulge - but look at the difference in rates with the US, where as many as 60% of kids are obese in some areas. 49% adult men overweight and 8% obese in the US would be a laudable goal, not a problem!

up
Voting closed 0

the issue when using "response satire" is that not everyone will "get it". That is the danger. And, honestly, I did not see your original post as being of a ridicule bent; I failed to see the humor which is part of satire, I believe? But, again, when it comes to satire, apparently I am behind the eight ball so to speak.

And, yes, I agree, we have a serious obesity problem in this country.

up
Voting closed 0

But I don't like kale, and I don't like the idea of the Olympics in Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

Shirley Leung become your guest editor?

up
Voting closed 0

If Shirley Leung had edited this piece, it would have run more like:

You WILL eat those lima beans if it's the last thing you do, buster!

So help me, I will reach across this table and give you something to cry about, young man! Now open your mouth and shovel those beans in!

up
Voting closed 0

n/t

up
Voting closed 0

I like lima beans. But kale could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn't miss it at all.

up
Voting closed 0

Actually, I like cooked kale, really not that bad.

up
Voting closed 0

I love lima beans...under a thick layer of ketchup and/or barbecue sauce.

up
Voting closed 0

With enough spices, almost anything is edible.

up
Voting closed 0

As editor-in-chief, I assumed you had tweaked that tone of hers somewhat.

Can you please explain soon how hosting the Olympics will help us all with decluttering? I'm even more interested in how it will make us better drivers, of course... and help us find parking spaces.

up
Voting closed 0

Dear Olympia,

How will the 2024 Olympics help me clean out the attic? It's getting hard to find anything up there and I'm worried what happens if it ever catches fire. The whole thing would go up in an instant.

-- Cluttered in Canton.

Dear Cluttered,

You are in luck! The Olympic Agenda 2020 calls for leaner, cleaner Games. Let's see what tips we can glean from its inspiring message ...

up
Voting closed 0

You're flying too high over a lot of heads.

up
Voting closed 0

You better watch it, you're liable to get a strongly worded letter about this

up
Voting closed 0

"Dear IOC,
You may get the impression that Boston and Massachusetts as a whole don't like vegetables and will not eat them. It's just not TRUE. The other day I had a salad at my mansion in Milton and the salad had romaine lettuce in it. I know my kids will love it just as much as I do. So, don't let those naysayers and adults-who-throw-tantrums give YOU the wrong impression. We really, really, really, do love you (and romaine lettuce).
Thanks,
Shirley

PS Can you start direct-depositing those checks you send me every week? I just don't have as much time as usual to go to our local, very special bank here in Milton (which is next door to Boston by the way so I'm uniquely qualified to know everything about Boston.) Thanks again!

up
Voting closed 0

Tomorrow: How the Olympics can turn us all into good drivers.

up
Voting closed 0

... bated breath.

And then, next week, we should learn how the Olympics will cause every Bostonian (and every visitor to Boston) to throw all trash (of any and all sorts) into appropriate trash receptacles, even if this requires carrying such trash for a considerable period of time.

up
Voting closed 0

the first Olympic delivery truck to be Storrowed.

Anyone want to start the pool?

up
Voting closed 0

when will Boston 2024 promise me 40 acres and a mule?

up
Voting closed 0

The Olympics will get rid of Globe Direct.

up
Voting closed 0

Adam would be the next Shirley Leung. LOL

But seriously.. nothing can stop Globe Direct, nothing. It's like the Energizer bunny.. they just keep coming and coming and coming, no matter what.

up
Voting closed 0

Tomorrow: How the Olympics can turn us all into good drivers.

How the Olympics solved the space-saver war once and for all
How the Olympics cured homelessness and the opioid crisis
How the Olympics gave us all a free pony
How the Olymipcs fixed the T

up
Voting closed 0