Candy For Ice Skating? WHAT?!? How I’m Fighting Back Against Junk Food in Kids’ Sports
|April 19, 2013||Posted by Stacy under Food rewards, Healthy snacks, Sports snacks|
I’m just your basic mom trying to raise healthy kids in a junk-food world. Some moms don’t care about all the junk. Some choose to ignore it. Still others are bothered but don’t say anything. I am not one of them. I’m tired of having my children shoveled full of crap. I can’t stay silent anymore. I’m fighting back.
Last week on my Facebook page, I explained how my 5-year-old twins were offered Red Vines candy as a snack at the first of six group ice skating classes. At the time, I asked the woman in charge whether she intended to give out candy every week. She said that they usually provide either Red Vines or cookies for the skaters. She explained that they purposely chose Red Vines because they’re not too high in calories. Plus, some kids arrive hungry after school and look forward to getting a treat.
I politely explained that Red Vines contain a food dye with known health risks and asked if they would consider serving bananas or another fruit instead. The kids get sugary treats everywhere they go, from the gas station to school, I pointed out. It would be great if they could offer a healthy snack that would truly satisfy their hunger and teach them the right way to fuel up for exercise.
She seemed to see my point but then mentioned that no other mom has ever taken issue with the candy, which surprised me–I guess. Back at home, I decided to follow up with an email to hammer my point home. It went like this:
Dear SUPER-AWESOME ICE SKATING LADY,
Lately, sugary treats seem to have replaced fresh fruits as the go-to choice on the sidelines of most sports, from hockey to soccer. I would love to see the ice skating club take a leadership role and help turn the tide by offering only nutritious nibbles.
While Red Vines may be low in calories and fat, they contain mostly sugar and a food dye (Red 40) that has been linked to hyperactivity and allergic reactions and is required to carry a warning label in Europe.
Major medical organizations also discourage the use of candy and sugary treats as a reward.
Bananas, popcorn and clementines are perfect examples of inexpensive foods that would help satisfy kids’ hunger, fuel them for ice skating, and benefit their bodies. I may be the only mom to have spoken up, but I can guarantee you that plenty of other parents are equally as concerned about junk food in their kids’ diets–and would be happy to know that the figure skating club is helping by providing healthy snacks.
I know that the club cares about our kids and wants the best for them. I would be happy to contribute a healthy snack if you are interested in giving it a test run. Returning skaters might miss the candy and cookies at first, but I think they would forget about them quickly and grow to love and appreciate the healthy offerings just as much.
Thanks for your consideration.
I never got a response to my email, so I was really curious about what would happen at today’s lesson. Would Red Vines or cookies be served? At last week’s session, I told my kids that they could have a Red Vine this one time–next time, however, we would say, “No, thank you.” But they just turned five, and it is hard to ask them to refuse candy or cookies that their friends are devouring. So I packed bananas and a couple Yummi Earth organic lollipops just in case.
As it turns out, I didn’t need them. We arrived to find a glass bowl filled with clementines and small boxes of organic raisins (see photo above). Which, by the way, the wee skaters ate enthusiastically. I can still hear one little four-year-old saying (over and over), “I love raisins!! I love raisins!!” Yessssss! I am one happy mama.
Believe me when I say that I hate being a squeaky wheel. I really do. But I’m unwilling to sit back and pretend that I’m OK with the junk food pushing anymore. I’ve come to realize that change is unlikely to happen if parents don’t demand it. Real Mom Nutrition’s Soccer Snacktivism Handbook has some great tips if you want to talk to your child’s coach or sports league about healthier snacks. It can’t hurt and can only help. And right now, I’m sure glad that I did.