Terri’s View: The schools here in suburbia New York are debating over having cupcakes in class for birthdays. Fortunately, my first grader was able to bring this sweet treat in for her 6th birthday. I understand the concern and why it is frowned upon; with so many birthdays close together, I get it. Some schools are opting for one day of the months to celebrate all the birthdays that occurred during that month, which is a good idea. The kids are encouraged to bring a healthy treat, but a birthday apple just isn’t the same (and getting the candle to stay might be tough.) What I don’t understand is that some of the schools insist on store bought snacks, which have more preservatives and artificial ingredients then if Mom (or Dad) made it themselves.
The point is that a cupcake at school isn’t what is makes that child overweight. It is the habits that are formed from a young age in the home. When my kids come home from school, they are not getting cookies and cakes as snacks. They are getting apple slices and string cheese. I do not feel bad when they are having a cupcake for a classmate’s birthday, because I know that they eat an overall healthy diet with treats sprinkled in.
Eating habits are formed at a very young age; you must lead by example with a healthy lifestyle and teach them the importance of food as fuel and nutrition. Teach them to know that a cupcake on a classmate’s birthday is part of the birthday celebration, and is a treat and not a food group.
Ed’s View: Terri was telling me a story the other day about one of my son’s friends. She told both my son and his friend to go out in the yard to play. The answer she received was that, “Outside is mad boring!” I guess I remember back to the days when I was a kid and a refrigerator box was the ultimate toy to play with. Or if I had a ball, this transformed a day of hide-n-seek or tag to stoop ball, box ball or other games.
It seems that one of the pieces children are missing is activity. With video games, you can play sports, fly a spaceship beat the dragon or whatever else – all from the comfort of your couch!
While I was always heavy as a kid, I always loved playing outside. The problem was my eating habits. While today we have a better understanding of nutrition, when I was younger we had just started to scratch the surface.
Today, we are lucky with the amount of information we receive; from the package or right from the internet. It is never too young to start your kids on the path to good foods. While kids prefer the taste of a chicken nugget to the taste of broccoli, it is our responsibility as parents to show them the right things to eat. The faster they understand this, the easier it will be for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not worry about gaining weight.
Get them active! Video games, TV and computers are a great treat, but nothing beats going outside and playing. I think taking the kids to the gym is a great way to introduce them to an exercise routine, what I mean is kids will mimic what they see and if you set the example chances are they will follow it.
Start them off right, get them off the couch and on the playground and have some fun with them as well!