There’s no way of saying this without sounding like either a self-righteous health nut or a sadistic child hater – and I’m still somewhat on the fence over which is worse.
Nonetheless, I think I have cracked the case on the alarming rise in childhood obesity. Apparently, my peers and I have somehow managed to birth an entire generation that can’t go more than 45 minutes without eating.
How an age group that was able to survive their own childhoods seemingly able to subsist for days on nothing more than bubble gum, the occasional Cheeto, and pure air, managed to allow their own offspring to get so snack-addicted is beyond me.
My generation will take the hit for a variety of offenses including, but not limited to, parachute pants, Michael Jackson having a hit record, and The Smurfs.
However, I honestly don’t recall endless snacking in my own childhood. Somehow my mother managed to ferry me quite nicely through childhood without constant infusions of tiny bear-shaped crackers, dry cereal, cheese sticks and a variety of juices to sustain me.
Yet today, even as we encourage children to be active and “just do it,” we replace tenfold any calories they might actually burn by pressing snacks into their hands almost before they’ve left the field.
Schedule. If you’ve ever had a child who has played any sport, you know what a “snack parent” is. The dates of play – and often practice – are listed and you are duly informed that on one of those chosen dates, it will be your responsibility to provide all the young athletes their post-game refreshments.
Missing your child’s game is bad. Missing a game when you are the snack parent is unconscionable. The idea that healthy children could survive for an hour or two completely without a snack is completely out of the question.
The call-to-duty is a heady one. Apparently, our nation’s children derive nearly all their sustenance from the scraps of food they can cadge after various little league and pee-wee practices.
Woe betide the snack parent who drops the ball on this task.
Cheap. There are basically two types of snack parents. You have your “cheap and easy” type (and while this moniker REALLY only applies to the snacks themselves, trust me when I say that among mothers, the same phrase will be bandied about concerning your personal reputation if you show up with the bargain basement snacks).
Sure, the 24 pack of “Lil’ Hugs Ju-c-ee Beverage” (100 percent devoid of anything resembling real fruit) is budget and kid friendly. What it isn’t is “mother approved.”
This leaves the “super mom” snack parent free to go in for the kill. This mother will show up with cubed and sliced fruit in individual baggies and organic fruit juice.
In my own early trying-too-hard mommy days, I always wanted to be one of “the”
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!