But can you leave my kid's school birthday alone, please?
At my children's school, The administration is enforcing healthy eating in the caring for our kids. They really DO want that. I BELIEVE that. I believe that they thought- we need kids to eat more healthy foods; let's research programs now to do this. And they were handed a list, the A-list, to follow of foods that are considered healthy in moderation for children to have at school and for children to share, barring any allergies in the classroom, for their birthdays. In fact, the A-list becomes mandatory in August.
I sat in a little butt hugging Kindergarten chair 4 years ago and listened to the the teacher explain it. And again the next year, and again...the school only wants only A- list foods to come in, if any, for class celebrations. AND if you prefer to forgo food for a little trinket instead, go for it.
So, referring to this list (from the John Stalker Institute) I see a lot of great snack ideas. I do. I am not being sarcastic here at all. Most of them, my child is not going to eat/want on their birthday, however. Cereal bars? We happen to eat TJ's bars all the time. NOT birthday material. Grahams? An eye roll as they are in our cabinets already. (Some of the ones listed on the A-list are the brands with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which I have eliminated from our shopping trips and home all together.)
OOOOOOH! Rice Krispie treats! They are on the list! The store bought variety of these, already
made and in the box ready for an easy pass around are on the list. And they contain: TOASTED RICE CEREAL (RICE, SUGAR, SALT, MALT FLAVORING, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), MARSHMALLOW (CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, GELATIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), FRUCTOSE, MARGARINE (VEGETABLE OIL [SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS], WATER, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL BUTTER FLAVOR [CONTAINS MILK], DATEM, ACETYLATED MONOGLYCERIDES, BHT FOR FRESHNESS, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D), CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF DEXTROSE, GLYCERIN, SALT, NIACINAMIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), SOY LECITHIN.
(you don't have to read all that. But see how it is ALLLLL that?)
Or you could go with this: whole grain oats, corn syrup, sugar, whole wheat flour, canola and/or rice bran oil,
high fructose corn syrup, brown rice flour, fructose, corn flour. Contains 2% or less of: whole grain corn, wheat
starch, glycerin, maltodextrin, corn meal, salt, sorbitol, gelatin, natural and artificial flavor, baking soda, tricalcium phosphate, color (red 40, blue 1, yellows 5& 6 and other color added), trisodium phosphate, sodium
citrate, citric acid, maltic acid. Mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness. Vitamins & minerals: calcium carbonate, iron and zinc (mineral nutrients), A B vitamin (niacinamide), vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B vitamin (folic acid), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A (palmitate), vitamin B12, vitamin D3. Contains wheat ingredients.
(and let the teacher enjoy that- especially with the kids who have a food dye sensitivity=bonkers behavior in minutes.) That is called a Trix bar.
Now, as I said, there are plenty of great snack foods on that list. In fact, when I read through, I was inspired by some of them for the lunch box and picnics. And we all know we can make a nice fruit salad and most kids will dive in. Mine included. But what to BRING on their SPECIAL day?!?!!? They don't want to be the kid bringing fruit or pantry boringness that they love when it is NOT their birthday. They want to bring in what we all brought in when we were kids. When it was ok to bring in cupcakes and cookies and brownies to celebrate.
Ev wanted to bring in: plain cake flour,table salt, baking powder, unsweetened chocolate, unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract.
And she did.
Yes, I am a bit of a rebel. I wear combat boots with my Laura Ashely's. (oooooooooh. Thasssss riiiiiiiiiight)
But I am generally a good sport in schools because I teach in schools. Because I support teachers. Because I would never want to be a principal and therefore have mad respect for them. And I am a complete democrat and believe in supporting the welfare of others. Chunks of paychecks go...and I grit my teeth and bare it for those who need it. And I know that the reason for this A-list is to help children that eat like crap every day of their lives have one less opportunity for crap....maybe....once every few weeks/months..... But my kid doesn't eat like crap. And my kid bringing in a purchased corn syrup bar is going to help no one. And my kid bringing in brownies won't hurt anyone. It is beyond that, this problem the schools are battling. I am not giving them each a sheet cake of brownies. I am giving a portion of a treat as I am a strict believer in every food having it's place in life- in moderation if it is a treat, in abundance if it is a veggie, etc.
I walked in with my tray of brownies. The Assistant Principal saw me and gave me a hearty eyes up to heaven and an abrupt turn on her heel to walk into her office. I felt my panic of a good girl in her ugly boots, but I made long strides down to the 1st grade wing. I brought my girl her treats! (Cue fireworks! Slow motion footage of children jumping up and down cheering, teachers coming into the halls, their hands all held together over their heads swaying to "We Are the World"....)
And I came home and stewed about this a little more.
As my dad would say, "Now hear me....hear me" (to get complete attention and eye contact to be clear as possible) I will follow a school's lead when they say NO food. I will buy the cutest pencils and erasers (which the classrooms need anyway). I will look at my kids and say," no food treats allowed, would you like to give stickers?" But if you are giving me a list of foods that is being made mandatory by Framingham State with all their research that has ingredients that I have never heard of, or ones I have banned from my own house, I won't do it. I won't play fair.
I will make my 8 ingredient brownies- that I can pronounce! and I will bring them in.