Avoiding Sugar Laden Treats In School This ValentineísTue 12 Feb 2013
Story by Stacy Whitman
Just when your family had started to recover from the holiday sugar binge: Along comes Valentineís Day to provide yet another excuse for a class party laden with candy, cupcakes and other sweets.
I donít know about you, but I am not too excited about the idea of my kids downing 10 pounds of sugar and who knows what kind of artificial ingredients. Iím all for an occasional treat, but the last thing they need is another junk fest.
Valentineís Day is an anniversary of sorts for me.
It was this time last year that I finally freaked about all the empty-calorie treats being fed to my son (a kindergartner at the time) at school. My frustration had been building for a while, but the week of February 14 put me over the edge. It wasnít just the sweets served in class on V Day itself. It was all the candy that came attached to his Valentines. The cupcakes and gummy bears to honor his classmateís birthday two days later. And the ice cream at the schoolís annual 100 Days of School celebration two days after that.
ďIt was a special week,Ē my sonís teacher explained after I emailed her about the mountain of sugar that had been consumed over the span of five days. She was right: Valentineís week was exceptionally bad, unlike anything we had seen so far that year. But the truth was that unhealthy food had been making regular appearances in the classroom all fall and winter ó at least once a week, by my estimate. It was too much. And I felt that it was undermining my efforts to teach my kids how to eat.
As those of you have been following my blog know, I acted on my frustration. I asked to start a wellness committee (and help start one I did!). And while things are far from perfect, I have noticed some positive changes this school year, including a push for healthier food at classroom parties. My sonís new fitness-minded teacher only permits one group birthday party a month and has specifically requested parents stick to nutritious snacks. Itís been much better, without a doubt. But what will happen during Valentineís week is still up in the air.
Thatís where this list comes in. The head of our new Wellness Committee asked me to provide some healthy Valentineís Day food ideas to share with teachers and parents. Because it seems a lot of families want to be healthier but may default to junk food out of lack of better ideas. Iím a firm believer that kids will get excited about a spread of healthy nibbles if they taste yummy and look special.
Visit Stacyís blog to see 18 fresh food ideas for an all-natural school party, from heart melon pops to zucchini cupcakes, and see what real food treats you can send in with your kids this Valentineís Day.
About the author: Stacy Whitman is the real-food loviní mom behind the blog School Bites: One Momís Crusade for Better Nourished Kids at School (and at Home!) (http://school-bites.com). She invites you to join the conversation on her Facebook page or Twitter, or check out her boards on Pinterest.
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