Remember what they might be missing

A school system in Wisconsin has banned birthday cupcakes. Cupcakes are the latest victim in the school system's "wellness program," as all sugary treats are banned. For their birthdays, kids can celebrate with fruit, veggies, and other "healthy snacks."

Seriously?!? A birthday veggie tray? Isn't the whole point of a celebration to eat something special, something tasty?

A parent is objecting because it won't teach the kids "moderation" or "portion control." This is very true, especially the first one. And what do kids always want? What they can't have.

Some call the cupcake ban a lost lesson in teaching kids how to "resist temptation." Now, if you have a wheat or other food allergy, then yes, cupcakes are tempting because you literally can't/shouldn't have them. But why do we call desserts tempting in the first place? It's just food.

If you are concerned about childhood obesity, will the cupcake ban make any difference? Hardly.

Writes one columnist:

My high school in Philadelphia could care less whether someone brought in a tray of brownies, as long as they didn't have marijuana baked in them. After all, my school served cheesesteaks every day.

But he does go on to praise the school's "wellness program," so...

We have simply made food--a fuel source for our bodies--into a moral issue. Birthday cupcakes aren't really about cupcakes, they're about sharing something special with your friends.

A dentist, in a story about Halloween candy and tooth decay, says this about his kids' bags of loot:

Ultimately, “it's not realistic to think you can tell your child you can't have candy, cookies, cakes, or other treats,” says Helpin. “Those are the things most people enjoy—and we want our kids to enjoy life.”

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Cammy said...

1) How are cupcakes not portion controlled? They are by definition baked in individual servings.
2) If everyone who ever celebrated their birthday with junkfood was obese, today's "obesity epidemic" would look like small potatoes (pardon the food metaphor).
3)The calories in the veggie dip probably have more calories than the cupcakes would have.
4) I wish I could say this is just silly, but it's worrisome too. Some of us developed major food issues even without early exposure to messages like this, I cringe at the thought of kids predisposed to EDs being taught that even the anniversary of their coming into this world doesn't justify a treat.

Truly teaching kids healthy habits should involve showing them how to make the right choices while also letting them know that occasional indulgences are fine.

Carrie Arnold said...

Amen, Cammy.

Katy said...

OMG cupcakes! Children cannot be trusted with those tantalizing individually-sized frosting-topped harbingers of the end of society as we know it...they're a gateway cake, and their consumption can only lead to more and more uncontrollable eating of ever-larger cakes until the entire US population is too horrifically obese (OMG so many ugly scary fat people!) to rise from their splintering chairs! Excessive baking is the true cause of global warming! Only terrorists and anti-American hate-mongers late children have *gasp* BIRTHDAY TREATS!!! Millions of grade-schoolers will die a chocolate-frosted rainbow-sprinkled death if we don't ACT NOW! An outright ban is the only way to save society from a crisis of truly MASSIVE (hehe) proportions!!!

Dear lord, the horror, the horror.

(Major, major sarcasm, in case it wasn't obvious. Which I hope it was, but with the internet & my sometimes-bizarre sense of humor, one never knows...)

I know someone who had a birthday fruit plate once...she was freaking anorexic. And even SHE knew it was ridiculous.

People suck sometimes.

Epiphany Alone said...

I'm posting a counterpoint. I hope it's helpful.

I have to say I'm pleased our district is moving towards acknowledging birthdays without having food involved. Not that I object to cupcakes, but I'd rather the messages about food weren't coming from the teachers/paras/admins who tend to not be sensitive to these issues. I can't tell you how many times my six year old has come home with some impression of a certain food being "bad". (And we discuss that eating only one food is probably bad but since we eat a variety of foods all of it is OK).

I don't agree with the parent's objection regarding moderation and portion control because somethings just aren't someone else's job. Because for my kids? I don't require that they eat a portion. If they aren't hungry, they don't eat it. If they are very hungry, they have more. So, I wouldn't want the district teaching them something else.

I'm not sure that will necessarily counter their predisposition towards ED, but leaving the school out of making food choices for my kids *I think* is better for my kids.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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