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Battling obesity one trick-or-treat basket at a time

Submitted by on Thursday, 29 October 2009 No Comment

halloween_partyThe best parenting advice I ever heard was from an older co-worker who’d raised three daughters.

“Don’t try to ban junk food,” he said. “It will backfire. They’ll sneak it on the sly anyway and wind up eating more.”

So, in that spirit, except for peanuts there are no forbidden foods in this house. Big Guy’s other allergens we allow now, because he’s old enough to know not to grab them.

Soda, candy, chips – we have them all. The candy jar’s on the kitchen counter, usually right beside cookie jars and a cake plate full of goodies. I don’t even have to ration them anymore, because the guys have learned that they’re “sometimes” foods that they get to eat after they’ve eaten their good food. The Evil Mommy Trick there is that not allowing them until after healthy food in effect automatically rations based on the size of their tiny tummies.

Boots’ preschool could have pretty much followed that same philosophy today at its Halloween party. A healthy snack was served before the kids paraded down the hall in their costumes for trick-or-treat.

Except candy was banned. It was banned at the last minute, too – parents found out when we dropped the kids off at 8 this morning, leaving 90 minutes to scramble to find trick-or-treat swag. We were lucky – we had trinkets left over from Big Guy’s birthday party.

I’m still not sure of the reasons for the ban, though I suspect it might have something to do with U.S. Department of Agriculture snack guidelines. I know they’re in force in for birthday parties. I know they’re goofy, too: White or yellow cake is allowed, chocolate is not. I wasn’t aware that chocolate is that nutritionally inferior.

Yes, I get that we have an obesity epidemic. I don’t think taking candy from preschoolers is going to solve it. Teaching them to choose active lifestyles and healthy foods might, though.

Yes, it’s great that the USDA and schools are moving away from the total crap they used to serve at lunch on a daily basis.

Yes, I agree that holidays and celebrations shouldn’t focus solely on food – that’s why there were a number of Mommy and Daddy and Me crafts at Boots’ party today.

And I think that it’s great that soda and junk juice are largely gone from schools – they were there only to help districts make a buck anyway.

But, please: Are 4-year-olds going to grow into junk food junkies because they had a piece of candy at a preschool party?

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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