My daughter started kindergarten this year, and the school she attends has a tradition of celebrating the 100th day of school. It’s a day filled with lots of activities related to the number 100 — graphing, grouping, adding, etc.
I love the idea of this since the kids have a blast learning.
What caught me off guard, however, were the items on the donation list that were requested for coordinating the related activities. It went something like this:
- Bag of Hershey’s Kisses (this is what I was selected to donate)
- Bag of M&Ms
- Box of Fruit Loops
- Bag of mini marshmallows
- Goldfish crackers
- Bag of popcorn
I already have a hard enough time trying to feed my kids healthy foods and regulating the amount of sugar they consume — and now we’re organizing a whole day of learning that includes sugary foods, which we know are addictive and bad for their little bodies? And what five or six year old is going to say “No, thank you” to M&Ms because her mommy says they aren’t good for her?
Don’t get me wrong: I understand this was one day and it was for fun. But then the next day is a birthday party with cake and ice cream, followed by cookies before a game, and doughnuts to celebrate winning the game. Top that off with hot chocolate after playing in the snow, a neighbor providing a sugary snack, brownies for dessert at grandma’s, followed by more ice cream to celebrate this, and cake to celebrate that — life feels like an unending celebration filled with sugary sweets!
No wonder our kids are suffering obesity and the diseases associated with it.
It’s frustrating that our children are taught in school about the importance of eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies, healthy proteins, and fewer refined foods, but then in virtually the same breath are presented with a barrage of sugary sweets. It sends a very confusing, mixed message to our children.
Perhaps I’m sensitive to the amount of sugar they consume, knowing all too well the addictive quality of it and the damage it has on the body. I just think this 100-day celebration could be a great opportunity to make healthy foods fun.
Instead of candy, my revised list might include:
- Mini carrots
- Green grapes
- Purple grapes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cheerios or another whole-grain cereal option
- Bag of popcorn
These options are still colorful and fun, but send a healthier, more consistent message to our very impressionable little ones. Plus, it helps curb the amount of sugar our children end up consuming in a day.
And who knows: Maybe a child will discover that they like cherry tomatoes more than M&Ms. (This mom can dream, can’t she?)
TELL US: How do you help your kids eat more fruits and veggies? Comment below or tweet us @ExperienceLife.