Recently, my children’s grade school has tightened the reins on their “wellness policy.” This doesn’t really sit well with me and it especially doesn’t sit well with my 4 kids! The policy is a very vague as to what is or is not healthy and gives a few suggestions, such as fruit or cheese and crackers, and then refers parents to consult with the administration if they are unsure what to send in. Recently, some very well-intentioned muffins were sent home from the monthly birthday celebration. This is what got my 2nd oldest child started, as well as quite a few other parents and theor children. My son seems to be our little activist lately, creating signs, gathering signatures and trying to garner support for his cause. I fully support him and his right to express himself as well as quite a few other parents and their children peacefully and respectfully; as long as he’s not tardy for school!
This is my stance on the subject..I’m all about healthy eating, it’s actually a huge focus in my household, ask my kids they have more than their fair share of swiss chard, whole wheat this and whole grain that! But as far as the school stance goes, I am hoping and still remain optimistic that some common ground can be reached, that we teach our children about HOW to make healthy choices and HOW to exercise control and practice moderation. I believe school should be somewhat fun, is that too much to ask?!?!? I mean they are there all day, let’s make their birthday celebration somewhat enjoyable. And yes, IMO, food does play an integral part in birthday celebrations, any celebration for that matter. Food brings people together, it’s something we share and can enjoy socially. Let’s let the children enjoy and feel special about their birthdays, let’s celebrate their childhood and let them feel proud and empower them as to how to decide what is best for them. If we actually teach them about healthy foods and choices, they might actually surprise us and make great choices on their own :) As a school that focusses on the environment and healthy lifestyles, I would really like to see this become a teachable moment for the children. Let’s teach the kids how to read labels and recipes, how to decide if they have had enough sweets for the day, how much exercise they’ve had for they day and maybe if they should decide to move a little bit more…how to make recipe substitutions for more healthy ingredients, etc. It’s not too early, they are sponges, they need to learn this stuff! My oldest, who is now in high school sees first hand kids who are given their first shot at making food choices in a cafeteria full of foods-some healthy and many that are not. Many kids have no idea as to how to pick a well-balanced meal, read labels or make choices as to what their bodies really need. Most end up with soda, cookies, fries and candy bars. Given some information about what their bodies need to perform academically and physically in their various sports, maybe more would choose the salad bar or whole grain sandwiches and fruit??