Friday, December 2, 2016

Is A Granola Bar Healthy Snack?

Earlier this year I attended my own kid's curriculum night.  The teacher went through the usual snooze fest of information about how he grades and how many minutes he wants the kids to read each night.  Then he got to the slide about snack time.  Being an educator myself, I had already predicted the canned Power Point slide about snack needing to be healthy- ya know, carrot sticks, apple slices, granola bars, but no candy, pop, or chips.  But for the first time all night, the teacher surprised me. 

"You can send a healthy snack with your child. You're the parents.  Whatever you feel is healthy, is fine by me.  If you want to send chocolate cake with your child because that meets your definition of healthy, be my guest."

This is brilliant!  No one can truly agree on what is, and what is not healthy- including doctors in many instances!  The government counts ketchup with high fructose corn syrup as a vegetable! Are food with oil good for you?  Is meat a healthy protein or a cancer causing nightmare?  Is a granola bar healthy?  This fruit roll up says it's made with 'real fruit flavors'.. is that okay?  What about 'flavored' water?  Chocolate milk?  Dairy in general.. good or bad?  Too much fruit is bad because of the sugar, right? Nuts are high in fat and sodium. Goldfish crackers are baked and made with REAL cheese, so I KNOW that's healthy! Boys shouldn't eat things with soy in them or they turn into girls I heard... 

Show one study that says anything is healthy, and I could show another that refutes it (sorta like educational studies...).  So why, on top of everything teachers & schools have become responsible for, do they now bring it upon themselves to be the health police (while at the same time, I'm pretty sure educators are the top consumer group for cakes, donuts, cookies, and diet soda...)?  Why are we potentially causing conflict with students and/or parents, and potentially challenging (often passionately held) belief systems?  My child's teacher took that hassle out of his life in one fell swoop. 

Believe me, I understand the role proper nutrition plays in a students ability to learn and grow.  I'm glad school cafeterias have become more conscientious about what they offer, and most classrooms have wisely allowed students to have water bottles throughout the day.  But when it comes to what parents send their own children with to eat, let's save our confrontational bullets for something worth the fight. 

And now, having said all that, I'm off to enjoy a couple bottles of wine- since I've read that drinking wine is healthy...     

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