As a mom of two young kids, I am constantly amazed by the numerous (and sometimes daunting) opportunities I have each day to teach them. Some are big milestones – my daughter is learning how to read – and others are small (but important!) lessons like how to share. My toddler son is slowly, but surely, getting the hang of that one. What I’ve learned about teaching kids how to eat well is that it’s both about what they see (what we eat, how do we eat) and what we say (“carrots help make you grow”). I’m so happy my daughter knows that fruits and veggies play a key role to help her grow strong, give her good energy and prevent her from getting sick.
Like so many parents, I want my kids to develop sensible eating habits, and understand how eating well leads to a healthy life. It’s hard to get kids to eat good food while at the same time making sure there are enough healthy options in the house to pack into a lunch, and engaging and teaching them throughout the process. It’s not easy. I’m constantly astounded and saddened by the staggering statistics that tell us how access to fruits and vegetables is difficult for so many Americans. And how 1 in 5 kids struggles with hunger. And that the summer months are especially hard for kids since school is out and for millions, there’s no guaranteed lunch each day.
Even in my home state of California, the leading produce-growing state in the country, over one-third of adults report that they seldom, never, or only sometimes can find a variety of good quality, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables that they want in their neighborhood (according to Let’s Get Healthy California). If those people are parents, think about how hard it is for them to teach their kids how to eat healthy foods.
I have volunteered at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, a Feeding America member food bank, and have witnessed the incredible volume of food it receives, organizes and distributes back into the community. Almost all of my time volunteering there has been spent packing up fresh fruit and veggies. It’s an important reminder that the volume is there because the need is there.
In my job at Outshine®, we’ve been able to team up with Feeding America for the past two years to help ensure that more people have access to produce and can eat nutritiously. Since we launched in 2015, Outshine has donated 3 million pounds* of fruits and vegetables to the Feeding America network. Our donation this year equates to one million pounds* of fruits and vegetables to food banks across the country. I’m proud to be a part of a brand that is committed to helping others eat better. It’s incredible for me to think about the impact that has on people’s daily lives.
My daughter has learned how important it is to help others – and I look forward to showing her and her brother how they can help other people when they get older, like volunteering at the food bank. In the meantime, whether they’re eating a handful of grapes or a Strawberry Outshine® fruit bar, I’ll do my best to teach them to how to pick out a healthy snack, understand the benefits of Vitamin-C that comes with it and appreciate their ability to access it in the first place.
*Since 2015, Outshine® had donated the monetary equivalent of 3 million pounds of produce. In 2015, $1 helped provide 9 pounds of produce secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. In 2016, $1 helps secure 10 pounds of produce.
**Rachel Jaiven is the marketing manager for the Outshine® brand and is based in the Bay Area. Outshine® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé, S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.