Firstly, let me state very clearly that I’m not a dietician, nor am I a nutritionist. BUT – most of my days revolve around food. As a mother of two, I’m constantly thinking about whether my family is getting all the nutrition they need … if you’re a parent, you probably know the drill. Child eats, child leaves disgusting half-eaten scraps, you clean it up and throw leftovers away, only to find that your child is still hungry (or at least bored, so they tell you they’re still “hungry”). Your child becomes upset because they can’t eat ice cream for every meal of the day, you frantically brainstorm something to take their mind off food, or run to the pantry/fridge to grab some quasi-healthy snack so you can feel better about what you’re feeding your kids … then you move on to the next meal, and so the process starts again.
On top of this, my part time job is program manager of the highly successful Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program … where I spend my days trying to get creative about ways to get a rural population of kids eating healthier foods and drinking less sugary drinks – when every piece of advertising surrounding them screams the opposite!
Even deep in the Mallee and Coorong districts, we’re still bombarded by clever soft drink and energy drink marketing campaigns. We have pictures rammed down our throats of the newest craze in confectionary, encouraging our kids to scoff down the most colourful and exciting pieces of food they see, promising results of pure ecstasy. Well, sorry to say guys, but last I checked, eating a toffee-based snack did not give my child super powers; and the only thing my kids get from drinking sugar-laden sports drinks is a bad attitude.
So – with my “Mum Hat” on (and doing my best to translate my home life challenges into potential solutions for my day job), I have come up with the Coorong Healthy Highways (CHH) program. It’s in the detail of this very project that I think we can start to make a difference to the way parents, children, food retailers, travellers, advertisers and the general public feel about this issue of eating well.
I’m not sure about you, but every crevice of my car is laden with crumbs, coffee stains or some sort of living creature created after half of a biscuit has been left too long. What this tells me – is that next to the home dinner table – our CARS are the next best place for us to try to eat well.
CHH challenges the norm of taking the easy road and ordering deep fried dim sims, soft drink, sausage rolls and chocolate bars while we’re on the road. Most people’s motto (and I don’t cast blame, I’ve been there many times myself), is ‘whatever’s easiest’.