cupcake wars

our family is on a journey toward eating more whole foods, traditional fats, and fewer refined food-like substances.

it's a process.  we still hit the drive-thru and i'm fairly certain there will be white sugar and sprinkles on our christmas cookies, but we're making changes.

so it was with interest that i clicked a link on twitter about sarah palin's antagonism toward child nutrition regulation in Pennsylvania.

defying proposed guidelines aimed at curbing classroom treats, palin supplied children with cookies at a school fundraiser near where i grew up.  the stunt was in poor taste, not to mention dismissive of the real and alarming obesity rates among children.  although i'm alarmed at the state of nutrition in this country (and sarah palin and i are hardly BFFs), when it comes to the cupcake wars, i find myself at odds with the healthy school activists.  my philosophy is this:

let kids eat cake!  in moderation.  and then get them moving!
i know that school parties are out of hand and kids are plied with sugar in unnecessary (and even dangerous) quantities.  BUT,  i don't think the government should mandate how frequently school parties occur or which kinds of treats are permissible.  parents, teachers, and administrators should be the ones to craft food policies for their own schools.  we can and should limit treats (and be respectful of kids with allergies) without banning parties and cupcakes across the board.

carrots and pencils do not a celebration make.

[it's unclear from the conflicting media accounts if the board of education is voting this spring on recommendations or mandatory guidelines.]

from what i understand, our local schools prohibit treats in the classroom, but they serve junk in the cafeterias and are cutting PE and recess left and right.

which is the bigger threat to kids' health (and learning)?  eating a processed, fried lunch every day and sitting still for eight hours or a birthday cupcake once a month?

i understand that part of the problem is that these treats and celebrations aren't occasional indulgences, but they should be:  both occasional (RARE) and actual indulgences (not broccoli florets.)

i do not have a child in elementary school, so i realize i'm speaking a bit out of my experience.  i don't like when the church nursery feeds my kids ungodly amounts of goldfish, and certainly we need to exercise restraint when feeding other people's children, but i don't think banning all classroom treats is the answer.  there is value in celebration and community and breaking bread (or cupcakes!) together, and i disagree with critics who argue that school is an inappropriate place for celebrations involving food.

bettina at The Lunch Tray got me thinking about all this, and she has some fascinating discussion going on at her site about children's health, government intervention, and cupcake wars that is worth taking a look at.

i'm interested in what you think, especially if you have kids who are in schools with or without these bans.  is a cupcake just a cupcake or a public health concern?  should classroom treats be regulated and by whom?  what should we, as parents and citizens, be doing about the epidemic of sedentary, overweight, and unhealthy kids in our country?
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