Thursday, October 30, 2008
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
I'm going to take us on a spin with a great food book for a kid, and one that reinforces many of the things that we are aiming for with a focus on fresh food. You just can't beat The Berentain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Stan and Jan Berenstain to reinforce the message of fresh simple food. If you've been busy reading books like In Defense of Food, help bring a little awareness to the little Greenies with the help of Mama and Papa Bear.
Mama started to notice a problem in her house and with her little cubs. They were depending on things like Yum Yums and Sugar Balls for snacks and food. The whole "food product" as opposed to "food" issue that we parents are working on! One day she looked over and noticed that they weren't as active and adding inches to their bodies. Just like any good Mama Bear, she decided to renovate her family lifestyle.
I have to giggle at Papa Bear giving support to Mama only to balk at the rules being applied to him! What! No Sweetsie-Cola!! He decides to support the family efforts when he leans over only to rip the back of his pants.
The family goes on a collective fresh food diet with water, food from their garden, carrot sticks, nuts and raisins for snacks. Mama takes the children all to the doctor so that they can learn more about nutrition and everybody gets their Bear butt into gear and begins to exercise. They even ran a family day marathon style race together, and though tempted to treat themselves they celebrate with more good food.
O.k., so it sounds way to idealistic. But it really isn't. The Berenstains manage to do it in a very approachable fashion that gets the message across to kids. The illustrations are charming, and each family in America will see a smooch of themselves in the story. This was published back in 1985, and 23 years later we are finally getting on the bandwagon for discussing all the issues about food, health, diet and exercise with kids that they were already writing about "back" then.
My kids followed up on their story by wanting more books at our Library on junk food and the inside workings of the human body. Fun! It introduced the topic of the skeleton, nerves, digestion and the brain. We've read it so many times and it reinforces what this Mama Bear says about junkety-junk food.
Be prepared to (gulp) answer a few uncomfortable questions about your own lifestyle after this book. Lio actually pinched a little bit of the Mama scooch to ask why I had fat there like Papa Bear. (You will see this in the story). I replied that this is why we are eating so many veggies in our family and why Mama has to go to the gym to lose a little weight and feel good. You know, why Mama has to go and why you need to play lots outside! Blush.
You will have to answer a few questions to your kids about food choices if you do focus on the book and talk about it. But hey, isn't that what we all really want? Your local Library should have a copy handy, or just ask them to find it for you.