Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Top 5 Children's Menu Items As Surveyed By Mintel

In 2002, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) cited that 16 percent of children aged 6-11 were overweight, with the same percentage holding true for 12-19 year olds, according to a recent report by NutraIngredients.

In a recent survey by Mintel, more than 77 percent of adults surveyed cited that parents are to blame for the national crisis -- indicating that most parents/families are time-starved, spending more time commuting from jobs, to schools and activities leaving less and less time for sitting down to well-balanced home-cooked nutritious family meals. Approximately 42 percent of Mintel's respondents surveyed identified someone in their households as being overweight.

However, a whopping 93% of surveyed respondents felt that junk food continues to play a strong role in childhood obesity issues.

"Children's eating habits are suffering due to the lack of structured meal time, and this is as big a challenge as the lack of balanced meals," said Amanda Archibald, analyst and registered dietitian for Mintel. "Compressed schedules and cramped time availability for both children and parents may play a more important role than previously thought in making healthy food choices."

Then, when you add television into the mix -- of the estimated 40,000 television commercials children view a year, 32 percent are for candy, 31 percent for cereal, and 9 percent for fast food.

According to Mintel's Menu Insights, a menu-tracking system, more than 47 percent of children's menu items were fried. Here's a look at the top five menu items (listed in order of most often eaten) for what most children are eating these days:

1. Chicken fingers
2. Grilled cheese sandwiches
3. Burgers
4. Macaroni and cheese, and
5. Hot dogs

Any of those items sound familiar on your child's menu?

I have a confession to make -- they also top the list of our son's favorite foods. Our family doesn't get home-cooked well-balanced meals as often as we should -- even though both my husband and I only work part time, not commuting like many other parents, but from home running our businesses by phone and through the Internet. I can't even imagine how poor our diets would be if we had to commute like so many other parents are forced to do these days.

It's one of the main reasons we go through 3 cases of Goji Juice per month in our home... because I know our 5 year old son is at the very least, getting the benefits of the 4 "master" LPB polysaccharides and the nutritional value from the juice that we can't get through our irregular eating schedule.

Considering the poor condition of "fresh" produce in our area, it's doubtful a well-balanced meal could even give us what we need.

Both my son and I are quite slim ...and my husband's large frame maybe could stand to lose a pound (or three)... but it isn't anywhere near the weight problems that seem to exist in our area.

It's not our diets keeping us slim. Is it the Goji Juice?

Who knows for certain. I'm just happy our son prefers Goji Juice way above any of the sugary soda's and other far inferior juice products flooding the market these days. The convenience of grabbing a delicious glass of goji whenever we feel the need for a boost in our day also makes it so easy to fit into our often hectic unstructured lifestyle. For us, at least, it appears to be working well.