Imagine your favourite food from childhood. What do you remember most about it?
The flavour? The places where you ate it? The people you ate it with? The number of calories in it?
Not many people remember how many calories were in their favourite childhood food.
The reason? It wasn’t widely reported because nobody used to mind.
Ever go for a family meal at a restaurant and look forward to choosing whatever dessert you wanted?
Choose that dessert on the basis of what you wanted at the time?
Not any more.
Pudding menus used to look like this: Ice cream – £1.20, chocolate brownie – £1.50, fruit bag – £1.
Which would you have chosen then?
Pudding menus now look more like this: Ice cream – 137 calories, chocolate brownie – 132 calories, fruit bag – 42 calories.
This is why I have now started running a campaign called Stop Calorie Counting Children’s Meals (SCCCM).
The reason I am running this campaign is because restaurants and cafes which display the calorie content of children’s meals will, I believe, lead to children starting to display signs and develop habits that are common with certain eating disorders.
Children are taught that being overweight is bad.
They are also taught that the more calories you eat the more weight you put on.
It’s not actually that simple but that is how it is taught.
So, which would you choose now?
Many restaurants and cafés now display the calorie content of children’s main meals and desserts.
Some even go as far as displaying that a side of baked beans is more calories than a side of garden peas.
So, some vegetables are now better for you than other vegetables? Of course not.
Calories are just numbers and this is what we need to be teaching children, not how to count how many calories are in their food.
This may have started with good intentions to help tackle childhood obesity.
However, children are impressionable and displaying the calorie contents encourages patterns of behaviour which is associated with eating disorders.
As adults we all know that being overweight is unhealthy but being underweight can also have life-threatening health complications and lead to infertility.
Do we really want to just replace overweight children with underweight children?
If your answer is no then please consider writing a letter to your local MP to help stop restaurants and cafes from displaying the calorie content of children’s meals.
Or join the campaign Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/538179706575622/