Does fun = Junk?

obesity-snapshotSo, I have gotten rather heavily involved in the PTA this school year. Yesterday we all had a meeting to plan the events for the rest of the year. Not the first meeting, there have been a few, and in the events department the thing that keeps popping up is FOOD.

As one of those mums, any event involving food is just another opportunity for my child to feel singled out, lonely and different. As a mum, this ties my stomach in to knots. Big ones.

Food – in my opinion – has no place in school unless its eaten at lunch or snack time, and then it should be the child’s own food thats consumed, and no junk.

Having a Fun food Friday or a similar event is ok, but only if the food can be enjoyed by all and is healthy!  Try telling that to the PTA! haha. Apparently, food is only fun if its junk. Apparently, it has to be mc Donald’s or Pizza or there is no point. Now, Im sorry, Im not trying to be a party pooper here, but hasn’t society ‘got it’ yet? That obesity is an epidemic? That we are raising a generation of kids that eat as much sugar in a day that kids a century ago may not have eaten in a year or even in their lives? That heart disease in the young is on the rise, as is diagnosis’s such as ADD and ADHD and concentration issues etc are also sky high? That giving the kids a meal of Mc Donals’d is not FUN at all, but in fact teaching them that rewards = food, fun = junk and sending the wrong message entirely? Couldn’t Fun food friday be fun in the park friday, or fun fruit salad making day? Or just fun food friday involving something other then high starch high sugar high toxin foods that I as a parent don’t want to feed my kid like ever – gluten or not!?

My celiac kid, she know she is different. She knows she has to eat only her food. She knows junk is bad. We go to extreme lengths to make sure her food is highly nourishing, packed with vitamins, and mainly sugar free, organic etc. We think 11 pneumonias is enough and we do what we can to strengthen her system, her body. So what message does it send when school wants to serve junk and on top of that they choose to call it fun!

Don’t even get me started on birthday cake celebrations. WHY? I am sending my kids to a private school to be educated, I never asked for them to be served cake. Again, its just another time my child gets to feel different, not just my child, many children. I am paying for my children to be educated….. not to sit and be made to feel different. Hate what I say all you like, this was my opinion before our Celiac diagnosis also. We actually chose our last school (before diagnosis) partly because of their food policy! Their policy allowed no junk, fizzy drinks, cakes, donuts, chocolates etc in lunch boxes, no nuts, no food sharing, and no birthday cakes. No birthday parties during school hours (woohoo). For childrens birthdays, parents were allowed to bring in a small sealed bag with a treat or toy for each child, it was given at the end of the day and any food items were not allowed to be eaten in school. The school soon had half of Dubai’s allergy kids in it, because the policy is fantastic, and guess what, no one ever complained! Those were the rules and thats that!

We couldn’t choose a school here in Wroclaw based on food policy because the schools we visited did not have a policy. I asked about food policies and birthday (cake) policies and was met with shrugs and question marks.

Its 2014! Aren’t we, parents, teachers and educators more aware then this? Shouldn’t every school have a healthy eating policy? Should we not stop giving kids unhealthy foods as treats? From the PTA meetings it seems that I am in the wrong and Im just alienating myself talking about it….. even more reason to have a policy set by a school, because this way you are taking away my choice of what to feed my child. Because obviously if the other kids eat junk I will replicate that junk best as I can, and she will still feel different and it is just so not ok.

Just one last thing, my children are not deprived. They eat nice food, they eat good food, sometimes its even fun. But its not junk, so shoot me!

-Linda

junk_food_benny_8

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2 thoughts on “Does fun = Junk?

  1. We had fruit salad day at school and another vegetable salad day where the kids brought food, a cutting board, an apron, a bowl and spoon and even a knife from home. The kids get fruit and vegetables (apart from the meal provider) and even milk if they want it. We had to sign that we allow our children to eat the fruit/veggies and drink the milk (we have one with a dairy allergy). Our school’s b-day policy is one piece of candy max per child and no hard candy. Then they sing “sto lat”. There is the school shop packed full of junk. We had to take away our older daughter’s pocket money because she spent it ALL on junk food from the school shop. I knew something was wrong because she was never hungry but was putting on weight – visible weight gain in 2 months just from the junk food she could buy at the school shop.

    So what to do? We try to do what you do and separate junk food from fun. For Halloween we made banana nut muffins in Halloween paper, “spider eggs” from hard-boiled eggs and black olives, and mummies from pastry and sausages. I bought one packet of gummies and that was it. They gobbled everything up and were not disappointed that there wasn’t more junk. Keep fighting the good fight!

  2. OH LINDA, you bad girl you 🙂 I was very very surprised that children were actually encouraged to share food at school. In America it is forbidden. Also having parties at school and bringing in cake is also not allowed. Although they are flexible to some degree because some parents just don’t get it. For some reason cupcakes to share on your birthday is a child’s right????? The school makes the child feel special on that day by giving them a birthday crown and all the kids sing a happy song. Acknowledgment made and let’s continue our school day. That works!!!!!!

    Anyway speaking as an obese American, I so get your desire to educate kids and parents about food not equaling fun. Food should not be a reward and food should not be a punishment. Food is that…… food, sustenance. Healthy attitudes to food have been lost in the American society for sure. I am so guilty of overindulging with the snacks and treats. My daughter is embarrassed at times and refuses to bring things to school for fear of kids telling her how unhealthy she is. I think the children at this particular school are extremely health conscious. Not to the extreme necessity that your family is however, compared to ‘American’ society they are extremely health conscious. That is a very good thing.

    I believe MOST of these particular children do not get to indulge often so having a treat once a week might be considered fun???? So you are right. I agree with you. What can we do that is ‘special’ once a week? Something that will not take up valuable class time. Something that we can do during free time “AKA recess or lunch” that ALL the students would look forward to. Sharing a dirty little treat is down and dirty easy. Limited effort and time required thus popular choice. Let’s come up with some ideas and I will work with you do make it happen.

    AND I am so sorry your family has the added burden of Celiac and food allergies. I truly am. One of my sons had an allergy to tree nuts for years. Also my husband has several life threatening food allergies. So severely to shrimp that someone eating it at the next table in a restaurant can cause a severe reaction. So I do understand to some degree but I also am aware that our sensitivities are not everyone’s and we can NOT expect those people that do not live with these conditions to be sensitive to them. It stinks but, unless people live it themselves they can not be accountable for our comfort and happiness. Stinks!!!!

    Emily

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