Snack snack snack
All day long
Snack snack snackWhile I sing this song
(with apologies to Adam Sandler, and you, dear reader, if you now have this song in your head. What crap we listened to back in the day, eh?)
We just made it through a very looooong summer. It was long because: 1. I have children 2. I have children 3. somewhere along the lines I ... birthed children.
Ok, so it wasn't THAT bad. But we had daily disagreements on the following topics: 1. "don't annoy your brother" 2. "don't scream at your sister" 3. "go OUTSIDE" 4. "please wear SHOES outside" 5. "no, we are not watching television," and 6. "NO, you do NOT NEED TO EAT right now. You just had (insert meal
here). Go play."
So now a break to pause and reflect on the Child Snack Culture. If you're a Mommy, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It was the first thing I heard about when we left my daughter's preschool: "What'd you do today?" "We had a SNACK!" "uh huh. what ELSE did you do?" Every day: The Snack Report.
We eat breakfast at 8:30. Preschool: 9-11:30 We eat lunch at 12 ish.
Soccer: snack signups passed around at first meeting. Soccer starts at 8:45 (we ate breakfast at 8). Till 9:45. Then, as kids leave the field, they grab a snack and a drink from the obedient parent volunteers and leave for home.
Gymnastics Camp: starts at 9, ends at 12. We ate breakfast at 8:30. I am instructed by my daughter to be sure to bring a snack tomorrow ... "for after we're done." As in, right before I pick her up.
Vacation Bible School: snack (THEMED, to boot). Sunday School/Nursery: snack. The extended care program for Kindergarten (two hours, tops, after the lunch I packed): snack.
According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center:
"Snacks are important part of a child’s diet. It is important to understand that young children need more frequent meals than adults, and they need snacks between meals to support growth and development. A mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack can increase a child’s intake of dairy, fruits and vegetables. When the snacks are planned, the child will most likely have a healthier snack. Also, having snacks will cut down on the feeling of hunger and less likelihood of overeating at mealtimes by going for second helpings." (emphasis mine)
I would love to increase my children's intake of nutrient-dense, low calorie (or even high fat, in terms of dairy) foods. For them to be munching apple slices (sans the caramel dip, Puh-leaze), sesame sticks, organic yogurt (hold the hormones) or broccoli trees. But in this over-processed, convenience-addicted, contaminate-paranoid, allergy-sensitive society, the snacks provided are shelf-stable carbs at best; dyes, HFCS and preservatives out the wazoo at worst. Little Hugs? Cheetos? Pudding from the shelf (as opposed to the cold, dairy section variety, which at least has a bit of redeeming nutritional content)? "Rolled up sheets of fruit-flavored rubber that look suspiciously like wallpaper"? (Barbara Dale)
Look, I'm sympathetic to the snack idea. It's a treat. It's a bribe. It's a break for the teacher/caregiver (BELIEVE ME, I'm sympathetic). But an hour after they've had, hopefully, a nutritious, well-balanced meal at home? They can wait another 30 minutes. Keep your Freezy Pop and pass the hummus, please.