I am embarrassed to say that I am just learning this morning that my step daughter eats junk every day. Uninvolved parent, you may be thinking. Well, maybe not involved enough I guess.
My beautiful step daughter is 9 years old and in third grade in the Racine Unified District. I have always felt it very important to try to have her eat as healthy as possible – while still being a kid of course. I make balanced healthy meals. I make sure our breakfast cereals have no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. I even try to buy healthier deserts like no sugar added popsicles and things like that. I read labels!! Nonetheless, we have noticed consistent and significant weight gain.
It is no secret that childhood obesity is a pandemic that is literally weighing us down as a country. Healthcare costs will only continue to increase, health insurance premiums will continue to sky rocket, children will continue to precede the death of their parents…this is truly everyone’s problem.
It may sound like a silly bone to pick coming from a woman who is a tad overweight herself. But from my perspective – I became overweight in my 30s. It has been traumatic – honestly. I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to be an overweight child or teenager. I cannot let my step daughter go through that. I want her to have the best opportunities and the healthiest life possible. I do not think that is probable if she becomes overweight. Being only 9, her weight is not an issue to her. And it shouldn’t. That is why I only discuss with her about eating healthy to be healthy as she grows up. I would never tell her she is too big or fat or anything like that. Just wanted to clarify that for the record.
Okay, so where is this going? Well, I found out this morning that she has been spending her allowance on chips and candy – AT SCHOOL. I did know that they had snack time in the afternoon. I was already annoyed by that. Why the hell do they need snack time?? I was under the impression that she was bringing something from home or just not having snacks. But apparently, at her school (not sure about the others) they provide a snack cart. In the afternoon they line up and walk to the snack cart where they can buy what they choose. I asked my step daughter what are the choices she can remember being on the cart. Here is the list she told to me:
Peanut Butter Crackers
So. While some of us are trying to get our kids to eat right most of the time…the schools are basically undermining us. Kids need to be kids. And candy, cakes, ice cream…that really is part of being a kid – like it or not. But it should be up to the parents to give these treats to their children so that they can monitor what their kids are ingesting and how much.
I am really bothered by this. Am I over reacting? Is there anything I can do about this? Who is in charge of making these decisions in Unified?
I am a HUGE supporter of public schools. And I have always been there to defend our district’s teachers. But this is one time I am truly disappointed with our schools.