Izzy and I were sitting in the tiny park near Christopher Street, savoring our late afternoon gelato when the following spouted from his mouth. "Why do some people eat junk food?"
I looked at his sweet face, licking his cone of Cantalope Sorbetto and wondered what the right answer was to this question. I asked which people he meant and he motioned towards some men sitting across the park who were tucking into a bag of cheez doodles.. The sight of these men had triggered his memory of a day in the park when a friend offered him some organic cheese puffs. It was a day in which too much junk had been consumed and it had obviously made a big impression on him.
I said that some people don't realize how unhealthy junk food. This answer did not do the trick. He wanted to hear more. I then said that perhaps when they were young, their parents thought that junk food was a fine food for them to eat so they continued to eat it now. That still didn't seem to satisfy him. What exactly is the answer to his question? I guess some people think it tastes good. But does it really? I don't think so. Though I suppose it is an acquired taste, like anything else. One thing I didn't mention to him is that junk food is addictive. The more you eat it, the more you want it.
So then I talked about how we might help people stop eating junk food. He said, "I don't think that is going to happen." (It is somewhat frightening that he seems to know just how pervasive junk food is). I then explained that anything is possible and that his classroom might be the best place to start. We already started last year and I think that things are moving in the right direction. I noticed that this week's snack choices were definitely healthy ones. And he was happy to report that he had baby carrots the other day.
For those in the know...Why do people eat junk food?