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Junk Food Exposure at School

From the time my children were in Pre-K, I couldn’t help but notice what a tremendous amount of junk food was introduced to them at school. Now that my older child has entered elementary school, it seems even worse. There seems to be a birthday or holiday celebration every other week, where the parents are encouraged to send their kids in with treats. Yesterday was the “100th day “celebration at my daughter’s school. Maybe that’s a legitimate reason to celebrate (I love an excuse to party), but in addition to the dancing and decorating they did, they sampled all of the  little candies that were to be used in making “100s” on cardboard signs and party hats, etc. It just so happened to also be the bake sale day at school and meanwhile, all of this the day before Valentine’s Day, yet another day of celebration!  When my daughter got home that day and I asked her what she ate at school in addition to her lunch, she said, “two cupcakes and Fruit Loops that were supposed to be for the necklaces.” “Were the cupcakes small?”  I asked, hoping.  “Oh no, they were huge!”

I decided to bring cut-up watermelon to a party at my son’s school a few months ago, and was shocked at how the rest of the goody table contained nothing but sweets. These kids went overboard with it too- not sampling a taste of one small cupcake, for example, but instead indulging on cookies and cupcakes and candy until they were filled to the brim and full of crazy sugar energy and tummy aches. I know they are just kids and don’t exactly have to perform heart surgery after this adrenalin boosting fiesta, but this doesn’t end in Pre-K. Meanwhile, this was encouraged and no one touched the fruit I brought. When I arrived to join the party, my son had not one, but two plates of junk. I think I he had three cupcakes alone!

Listen, I have a legitimate sweet tooth so I am no stranger to chocolate, for example. And I love to see my kids giddy over a bowl of ice-cream. However, everything in moderation is my motto. When the kids are given a chance to go over board with the sweets more than a couple times a week, isn’t it out of hand?

I’m curious what other parents think…

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Rachael Ray