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Grow, Eat, Learn: School from the Plate Up

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Tray photo via Shutterstock.

Whether people make a choice to have children or are taken by surprise by a pregnancy, the questions that run through prospective parents' heads are generally the same: what will we name it? Will it be a boy or a girl? Can we find daycare?

Rarely does a parent-to-be think: what will we feed our child? Yet that's one of the most important questions to consider, as many parents discover once their little one requires more than a milk or formula-based diet.

It seems simple enough. We live in an age of "kid food" -- the chicken nuggets and pizza that children are assumed to prefer -- and an economy that requires both parents to work full time to make ends meet, leaving neither with energy to cook supper from scratch. Packaged or prepared "kid-ready" meals are a tempting solution.

The results aren't good for Canadian kids. The number of children with obesity in Canada is going up, and with it the risk that they will develop Type 2 diabetes early in life, and heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other health complications later on.

In response, a loose alliance of educators, parents, farmers and doctors are joining their voices to argue that it's time to go back, for some of us way back, to the way our parents and grandparents ate: fresh food, made from scratch, eaten together.

In this series, The Tyee Solutions Society reporter Katie Hyslop visits farms, schools, full-length mirrors and our own kitchen cupboards to examine how we lost our way when it comes to feeding our kids, and how we can get back on the path to wholesome, healthy eating.

Katie Hyslop reports on education and youth issues for Tyee Solutions Society. Follow her on Twitter @kehyslop.

Produced by Tyee Solutions Society (TSS). Other publications wishing to publish this story or other TSS-produced articles, please see this page for contacts and information.

In This Series

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For Kids, the Meal Is the Message

More and more educators see the need for food-literate youngsters. First in a new series.

By Katie Hyslop, 6 Oct 2014


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Can 'Cuisine' Make a Better School Lunch?

French kids eat like adults, and learn about food in the classroom. Should ours? Second in a series.

By Katie Hyslop, 8 Oct 2014


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Does Canada Need a National School Food Program?

A new coalition thinks we do, but with every province already covering school food, is it necessary?

By Katie Hyslop, 13 Oct 2014


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'Food Doesn't Come from a Grocery Store'

Educators wage a veggie-roots campaign to put industrial agriculture in context, one school plot at a time. Third in a series.

By Katie Hyslop, 15 Oct 2014


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Is Canada's Food Guide Past Its Best-Before Date?

Due to industry lobbying, it may be more about marketing than nutrition. Part of a series.

By Katie Hyslop, 20 Oct 2014


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Time to Stop Freaking Out over Fat Kids?

Thin isn't the same as healthy, warns an academic and an eating disorder survivor. Part of a series.

By Katie Hyslop, 24 Oct 2014


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How to 'Sell' Healthy Food to Kids

Turning the tables on unchecked food industry advertising means using some of the same tactics.

By Katie Hyslop, 27 Oct 2014


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Ideas With Your Fries? Giving Youth Credit for Food Smarts

Given support to explore on their own, some take food literacy to the next level. Last in a series.

By Katie Hyslop, 29 Oct 2014


Real Cities Give Their People Places to Pee

Public washrooms should be plentiful and accessible, says one scholar. And cities that do flush, flourish.

By Christopher Cheung