Monday, November 17, 2008

Snack Attack

Because of a new law, schools all over America are limiting what students can eat. Previously many schools had vending machines stocked with the common vending machine fare: chips, candy bars, soda, etc. Now schools can still have vending machines, but only offering healthy snacks: juice, pretzels, fruit, yogurt, etc. The Institute of Medicine guidelines call for no more than 35 percent of daily caloric intake be from fat and sugar, and a maximum of 200 mg of sodium per day. Naturally occurring sugars in fruit are excepted. The report does not set a standard for artificial sweeteners in food, but does not endorse them in beverages, says registered dietitian Tracy Fox, an IOM committee member.
There have been many complaints from parents claiming that “parents should decide what children eat and not school.” They strongly believe that schools should not take candy away from everyone just because of few unhealthy kids. They point out that soda and chips are fine if kids would also eat fruits and vegetables. But the truth is that once children eat soda and chips, they are not hungry for fruits and vegetables.
Even if parents do not provide healthy snacks at home, my belief is that schools should always provide a healthy environment to their students, including healthy meal and snacks. We should not need to have a law for this to happen. School should also provide information on how important it is for kids to have a well balanced meal in order to have more potential with their learning skills. I don’t see any reason why parents should get upset with schools providing healthy snack options to their kids. Kids do not naturally make good choices. That’s why they need parents to make good choices for them and to teach them how to make good choices. Kids would eat candy, chips, and soda for every meal if it was available. And it is available through many school vending machines. It is time for schools and parents to start acting the part by educating and raising healthy and strong communities. We can start by providing healthy snacks.

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