Chaos Crew, you know that I have been working on my anti-snack platform for quite a while. I was inspired by Newsweek’s Magazines cover story on childhood obesity to formalize my view. Today, in a new column at oprah.com, I launch my anti-snack platform as part of my support of the Let’s Move initiative, launched by Michelle Obama. I am just one mother. I know I can’t solve childhood obesity with one blog post. But I encourage you to read the oprah.com post and Facebook it, tweet it or send it along to your fellows moms, room reps, team moms, scout leaders, after-school program admins, coaches, youth sports league commissioners if you agree.
Let’s take a stand against Institutionalized Snacking. By that I mean the constant barrage of unhealthy food that our kids are exposed to during school, after- school programs, post- sports contests– basically every time kids leave the house and gather in groups larger than two! I think we need to support each other on this one. I know most parents would be grateful for the opportunity to cut out the sugar and calories laden treats in favor of healthier options. Mrs. Obama’s initiative to reduce childhood obesity is the perfect excuse. Simply going back in time– to the days before mandatory pizza after practice- would be a healthy step for all kids.
I am for well- balanced, well -timed snacks. A good snack improves behavior, academic performance, and helps kids maintain a healthy weight. So I don’t think kids should be stripped of all snacking privileges. My sons could not make it through a school morning without snack at 10:30 (and I was thrilled when the school opted for whole grain crackers and fruit few year ago instead of cookies.) My growing boys come home starved, eating a real meal at 3:00 and then again after practice at 7:00. And yes, they get treats and chips and candy on occasion. But I have some control over what they are eating and the choices they are making. I can keep that well balanced diet in sight. Nothing makes me cringe more than a goodie bag filled with high calorie treats at 5:30 PM after a soccer game handed out as part of the youth sports “experience.” You know what happens then: snacks scarfed, no dinner, and cranky behavior until bed.
Plus, the potential to create life long health problems. Am I over-reacting? Maybe. But what do we have to lose at this point when one in three children are overweight or obese? Shouldn’t we all over-react a little bit to insure that the next generation grows up healthy?
What I am asking parents to do is rethink is the automatic snack that comes with every baseball game, class party, or after school activity. In our small part of the world– on the ground parenting– we can make a difference in the overall health of all children. And save ourselves the cost and the aggravation of providing endless snacks for our kids’ endless activities. Let’s be open to the idea that eliminating snack is not the end of the world. But maybe a fresh new start for our children.
Let me know what is going on in your community or on your sports team in terms of snacking? have changes been made? have you tried, but been shouted down? Are you concerned at all or am I out of line? You know want to know!
Helpful links for the Anti-Instituationalized Snack Movement:
Let’s Move: Resource website to empower parents and kids to make healthier choices. Blog, newsletter, information.
Studies and Research:
New York Times Well Blog: Does One Cookie make a Difference. How small changes can prevent weight gain.
Children and Snacking: the latest study on Snack Time All the Time
Embracing my Chaos, Lian