On a recent rant on my Facebook page, I once again expressed my ongoing frustration with the rest of the world - friends, family, and everyone else that comes into my kids' daily life and feels the need to inject them with sugar. It's been happening from the moment they were born. When my older one just learned to walk, one relative would let her take small sips of her Sprite (despite my protest that she wasn't even asking for it - why give it to her?), while other well-intentioned family members would hand them lollipops, whole candy bars, and even large ice cream sundaes before they knew what any of that was.
As they get older, it's getting harder. Kids are given treats at the drop of a hat. Once one holiday is over - there comes another, and another and another. Again, well-intentioned (and some competitive - lets face it) moms package large bags of candy and other edibles to be distributed in classes. Once, my 7-year-old came home three days in one week with a treat in her hand because it was not only Valentine's Day celebrations but also the week a kid was leaving school for good, and another kid's birthday.
I'm not the anti-fun mom. I really am not. I've never completely banned anything in my house. My kids have treats that go in their lunch boxes every day. They also can have a glass of soda maybe once every two weeks if we're out at dinner. And, I don't even mind some cotton candy if they're at Chuck E. Cheese's and they earned it with all their tickets. But, it's all in small packages and monitored to be sure that it's being offset with healthy food choices.
It's clear to me that the madness over sugar in America is out of $#$%^& control, especially in schools. I don't need my kid stuffing their face with a cookie the size of their head..nor do kiddie functions and birthday parties have to have large vats of soda on hand that do nothing but tempt the kids. Nor, as I'm hearing happens in some schools, should teachers ever be rewarding kids for learning in school with CANDY.
No wonder American kids are fighting obesity. The adults in their lives aren't even giving them a fighting chance to learn how to really eat. And if you do happen to be THAT parent that actually does NOT ply your kid and their friends with junk on play dates, suddenly you've either got kids (your kids' friends) on your hands that won't eat or you're labeled as one of 'those' moms.
One friend, who happens to have roots overseas and raises her kids on traditional foods, tells me it's hard when you have other kids over. You almost don't know what to feed them, because most kids these days only go for two or three options out there: pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries. So, instead of making homemade foods for her kids' friends, she feels guilty and feels she has to go out of her way to feed them what she considers junk. (Since when did it become okay to eat pizza made on white all-purpose flour virtually every day of the week?)
I've been there - vibed by other kids (yes, I said KIDS) to stop and pick up the easy fixes when they refuse to eat up the oranges, celery, apples, whole wheat bread, and other wholesome snacks I serve them and my kids on play dates. I've actually had a few sassy mouths tell me, "I don't eat healthy food." And then the guilt sets in...did I do something wrong?
Since when did it become a crime to serve a kid good, wholesome snacks? Hummus and carrot sticks. Or, celery with dip?
Instead of giving into the craziness of our snack and sugar culture, I'm stepping up to say enough is enough. I no longer attend large kiddie functions where I know there's no real meal and only chips and soda for the kids. No longer do I care about throwing away candy as soon as it gets home (and no I am not donating it to a charity so poor kids can rot their teeth and ruin their diets too!)- I don't care how much of your thought and time went into making it or picking it up at the local Dunkin' Donuts. And, no longer am I going to feel guilty about giving someone else's kid a carrot instead of a popsicle. Just deal with it.
If you come to my house that's what your kids will get.
Because in our house we express our love through real, wholesome, healthy food. Not through sugar.
And because when your kids come into my home, I truly love them like they are my own.
If you have real kids that eat real foods, reach out to me on my Facebook page or my Fan page, Indian As Apple Pie, and post a picture of your kiddo and their favorite foods. Let's start a revolution here!
Tune into NPR's Tell Me More on Tuesday, February 19 from 11:15 a.m. EST. I'll be discussing how to encourage your kids to eat healthier.
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