Another school term is about to begin, and if things are anything like they were when I was a kid, I’m sure all the mamis and papis are busy getting every detail organized to survive those first crazy back-to-school days. In Peru, lunchboxes are a big part of this ritual, just as important as uniforms, textbooks, notebooks, pencil cases, and backpacks. Mothers start stocking up on snack basics, and preparing lists in advance of what their kids’ fuel will be throughout the week days.
Knowing that there are so many Peruvians and Latin Americans in general living abroad, makes me wonder how our healthy, food-oriented culture, has diverted in such a way that Latinos are now the ethnic group with the highest obesity rates in the US, a big chunk of that number being teenagers, children, and even infants. When I read nutritionist Manuel Villacorta’s book “Eating Free”, I completely related to his description of growing up in a country where one didn’t see many obese people, and where one didn’t worry too much about counting calories.
So what’s going on with all these fellow Latinos who are moving to the US to live the American dream and are becoming overweight and sick instead? In what part of the equation is our harmonious food culture getting lost? Fast food, high prices, lack of information, mis-information, too little time to cook, unhealthy school meals… The list is long and complex indeed.
But as you know, in Peru Delights we LOVE food! So we want to help solve the obesity problem not by vilifying food or starting a dysfunctional relationship with it, but by using it to our advantage, the way nature intended us to. Our first suggestion is to start with your kids, and bring back the lunchbox tradition that is still so prevalent in Latin America. Fill them up with fresh fruits, homemade treats, and their favorite healthy sandwiches. It’s not that hard, is it? Of course, we know such a big problem needs a much bigger solution, and demanding healthier school food from local schools and authorities is an important step that all parents should take very seriously. That’s why we invite all of you to join the We Decide Latino town hall special on nuvoTV, tonight at 8pm. The hour-long program will feature a panel of high-profile experts who will engage with a live audience and other virtual participants connecting through social media platforms, and will explore how the presidential candidates are addressing issues specific to America’s Latinos.
In the meantime, start making a weekly healthy lunchbox list that your kids will love; and tell us, which topics are important to you? Please share your concerns and help us spread the word about the We Decide campaign.
*This is a compensated post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and nuvoTV, but all opinions are our own.