Finally some good news about the government. The Dept. of Agriculture has banned the sale of junk food and drinks in school vending machines, effective Fall 2014 as directed by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Both aisles of Congress actually came to agreement on something.
Not sure why the yearlong delay, but starting next fall, kids will no longer be able to dodge now-healthier school lunches or their (hopefully) healthful brown bag lunches in favor of fake food from a machine. They will be able to select “whole wheat crackers, granola bars and dried fruits, instead of M&Ms, Cheese Nips and gummy bears.”
The topic is nothing new, but who ever said it was okay to feed this crap daily to growing kids? I have been astounded over the past 13 years as a parent at the sheer quantity of it pushed on my children at every turn. You literally cannot take them anywhere—the zoo, car wash, little league, hockey, soccer, sporting events, market, gas station, airport, parties, public pool, beach, restaurants, camps, just name it—without their being tempted with an endless array of healthless, fattening junk. Okay, maybe the local farmers’ market. But other than that, it feels like constant, full-on guerrilla warfare.
The team sports thing perhaps irks most. Question to parents: when was the last time you spent an hour plus working out hard and made sure to follow it up with a big helping of donuts from Timmy Ho’s? It would be absurd, right? Right.
Seth Godin calls the marketing blitz that has led to the ubiquity of junk food “the perfect crime.” Love his analysis of the “cultural feedback loop” that marketers have established and how they make us willing collaborators in the sabotage of our own health. Check out his blog for the full article.
For now, let’s just be that parent. I get the full-on looks and smirks when I say No to donuts after every soccer game or to 9 a.m. slushies after hockey, or when I chase away the Good Humor truck from the little league field. For the love of God, leave our kids alone! Parenting is hard enough as it is. Treats are obviously okay at times, but let parents decide when and where to let their kids splurge.