All the cupcakes and junk food - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 01-28-2011, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sick of all the cupcakes and junk food DS gets at school.  He gets cupcakes or candy at least once a week, at least.  Today he comes home with his face dye blue from the nasty dye from the cupcake a parent brought in for their kids birthday.

 

We have worked really hard to teach our son to eat healthy.  We buy organic and don't eat preservatives and arrtificial food dyes.

 

I'm disgusted that he's getting this junk at school.

 

We were doing a gluten free diet up until a month ago, so I was sending in all snacks/treats for DS.  The gluten free diet wasnt doing anything for him, so we decided to give that up.  He was so excited to be able to eat the same things the other kids eat and not be different.  I've been trying to be relaxed about it, but the food dye all over his face is just too much. 

 

I know that other schools have healthy treat only policies and would loooove our school to jump on that bandwagon. 

 

The school claims to have a healthy lunch menu (they don't).

 

I hate being the squeaky wheel, but I really can't stand for my child to be fed all this junk. 

 

What do I do, where do I start?

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#2 of 30 Old 01-28-2011, 10:47 PM
 
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Tell your teacher you don't wish for your child to eat these treats, and send substitutes.

 

Offer to send healthy snacks.

 

I don't think the answer is to entirely ban the occasional cupcake from schools, nor do I think a kid eating an occasional cupcake makes a kid obese...though I know some have this view.

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#3 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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If the cupcakes are coming in to the school as birthday treats, then it sounds like parents in your community think this is the right way to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Some of these parents may just be trying to "keep up". They may be very happy to have someone start a healthy treat campaign. Or you may find you have no support at all with those parents.

 

The school is likely going to comply with what most of the parents want - or at least what the vocal parents want. 

 

I'd start sussing out what kind of support you have with the other parents and go from there.   

 

 

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#4 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

If the cupcakes are coming in to the school as birthday treats, then it sounds like parents in your community think this is the right way to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Some of these parents may just be trying to "keep up". They may be very happy to have someone start a healthy treat campaign. Or you may find you have no support at all with those parents.

 

The school is likely going to comply with what most of the parents want - or at least what the vocal parents want. 

 

I'd start sussing out what kind of support you have with the other parents and go from there.   

 

 



Ditto this.

 

Depending on your area ,you may get a lot of support or get nothing.

 

Part of it is backlash from being able to bring 'homeade treats' (our school does not allow it since you can not read the ingrediants and/or know for sure that it is peanut free. So now all treats are store bought.....which leds to more junk. It is hard for a parent to find store made healthy Birthday treats & /or drinks.

 

 

I would see if you can do a lighter birthday treat ( granola, oatmeal cookies,) that are still special= but not quite so 'empty sweets'. Other ideas would be Birthday child brings in pencils/erasers/etc for friends. Birthday child brings in a book to donate to classroom and gets to read it to friends. Birthday child is 'special person' for the day ( line leader, etc), Birthday child gets to led some games for special 'play ' time instead of treats, etc.

 

 

 

 

You may not see any changes this year, but a policy and/or suggestion may be made for next year!

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#5 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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Start by getting involved in the pto that's how they got good policies at our public school - a few moms made it happen.
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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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I think you should start by asking the teacher what is up with all the cupcakes and sweets and see what she says.  If it is birthday stuff then you may or may not be able to get a change depending on your area.  Our schools all have healthy food policies in place and do healthy parties but birthdays are exempt from that and everyone brings in cupcakes or cookies.  It is hard enough to get the parents to send in only healthy food for the parties and I have yet to talk to a parent who doesn't think that the few health food nuts out there are ruining it for everyone.  It is frustrating when your child celebrates 24 birthdays and half birthdays with sweets, but on the other hand it was heartbreaking to my dd when she moved to a charter school where they allow absolutely no recognition for birthdays beyond telling the child happy birthday.  I am sure there is a balance there and starting with the teacher and PTA may be a good place to start.

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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

It is hard enough to get the parents to send in only healthy food for the parties.  It is frustrating when your child celebrates 24 birthdays and half birthdays with sweets.


In our public school with a good policy, party food was supplied by the PTO and each child got one sweet thing (either a cookie or a cupcake) and a juice box with 100% juice. There were other snacks, but they were non-sugary.  For birthdays', store bought mini cupcakes were allowed.

 

I also think class size makes a difference. 19 kids in a class is very different than 30 kids in a class -- it's fewer cupcakes!!

 

Our private school doesn't have a food policy, but there are only a few parties a year. Home rooms only have 15 kids in them, and the birthday kid can opt to do something funky for their birthday, such as the homeroom going out to breakfast on their birthday. Seriously. One of my DDs went to I-hop one day last week for some child's birthday. If you don't want to or can't go, you can visit in any other homeroom that day. (Kids visit other kids' homeroom all the time, kinda like neighborhood children eating dinner at someone else's house.)  Most of the parents at the school would prefer their kids not eat tons of sugar, and some kids have allergies. It's very respectful in spite of a lack of official policy.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. 

 

The cupcakes are mostly for birthdays, then holiday parties and other random celebrations.  It's averaging out to about one a week. 

 

I have no problem with a nutrionaly void treats once in a while, but the mass amounts of food dye really bothers me.  Some basic guidelines about healthy alternatives would be great, I just can't see somehting like that working.    

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#9 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 12:58 PM
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Get involved by volunteering in your child's classroom and/or the PTA/PTO.  Our school allows sugary treats for celebrations but you must also provide a healthy alternative.  It won't happen or work if you don't try and don't get involved.  Feel out the other parents and see if there are any others who would be on board with you.

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#10 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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I'd talk to the teacher and the principal about eliminating the big 8 allergens from classroom snacks. That would do the trick. There is soy, milk, wheat, and eggs in most cakes and cupcakes. 

It's not healthy, nor is it fair to the kids w/ allergies.

The big 8, have to be identified on food labels-by law. (http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/Consumers/ucm079311.htm)

 

What Are Major Food Allergens?

While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.

The eight foods identified by the law are:
  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as “major food allergens” by FALCPA.

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#11 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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You might be able to get some parents on board - but, if you're talking about once a week, or, less, I would just let it go.

 

I agree with the pps who said at least the school is allowing children to recognize their birthdays - too many schools have eliminated that altogether. But, I'm coming from the perspective where my dds school has decided to cut out several minor holiday parties on the basis that they don't want the kids having all of the junkfood and due to the waste associated with the party. I'll take the occasional junkfood and celebrate birthdays/holidays in school over the alternative of no parties/celebrations. However, of course, a happy medium would be best. Continue to celebrate, but, with healthier options. But, IMO, I would just learn to accept that my child will be exposed to nasty dyed icing once a week and concentrate on teaching healthy food habits at at home.

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#12 of 30 Old 01-29-2011, 11:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post

I'd talk to the teacher and the principal about eliminating the big 8 allergens from classroom snacks. That would do the trick. There is soy, milk, wheat, and eggs in most cakes and cupcakes. 

It's not healthy, nor is it fair to the kids w/ allergies.

The big 8, have to be identified on food labels-by law. (http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/Consumers/ucm079311.htm)

 

What Are Major Food Allergens?

While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.

The eight foods identified by the law are:
  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as “major food allergens” by FALCPA.



I completely disagree because it makes it impossible for kids to take in any baked goods, ever.

 

Most kids can have milk and eggs, and more parents consider them healthy foods. This isn't the place to start. You'll just get shot down.

 

In two different schools we had two very different policies -- one allowed only food that was store bought, never homemade, to insure that food was prepared in a sanitary way. The other allowed, even encourages kids to bring these made at home so that a child who is vegan or gluten free or whatever can bring in something that works for them and share it. Most of the kids work to bring in things that work for the others in the home room.


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#13 of 30 Old 01-30-2011, 02:35 AM
 
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It doesn't make it impossible to make baked goods, or my child would never eat them. I agree that it would be hard for people that don't have allergies in their family to have the goods readily available. There is flour that is made from rice (opposed to wheat etc), there is egg substitute, and if the food is from a store, it would state whether it had the allergens in it. I've never considered a cupcake a healthy choice; I wasn't talking about the milk and eggs alone.

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post

I'd talk to the teacher and the principal about eliminating the big 8 allergens from classroom snacks. That would do the trick. There is soy, milk, wheat, and eggs in most cakes and cupcakes. 

It's not healthy, nor is it fair to the kids w/ allergies.

The big 8, have to be identified on food labels-by law. (http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/Consumers/ucm079311.htm)

 

What Are Major Food Allergens?

While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.

The eight foods identified by the law are:
  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as “major food allergens” by FALCPA.



I completely disagree because it makes it impossible for kids to take in any baked goods, ever.

 

Most kids can have milk and eggs, and more parents consider them healthy foods. This isn't the place to start. You'll just get shot down.

 

In two different schools we had two very different policies -- one allowed only food that was store bought, never homemade, to insure that food was prepared in a sanitary way. The other allowed, even encourages kids to bring these made at home so that a child who is vegan or gluten free or whatever can bring in something that works for them and share it. Most of the kids work to bring in things that work for the others in the home room.



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#14 of 30 Old 01-30-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Why don't you ask your son not to eat these because you feel it's bad for him? My kids are vegetarian. They know why we don't eat meat and so they self-regulate. If there is a party, we let them know our kids are veggie but I always have them pack something extra so THEY have something (because people are wierd about vegetarians lol..... they think that the veggie tray is enough to replace a hot dog.) Have your child pack a treat you approve of. Let the teacher know that during these events, he can have his OWN treat instead. I know, I know, everyone freaks out about their kid having to be "different" but so what? I was a veggie from 9 back in the days when NO ONE accomodated. My kids roll their eyes a bit after a party but not eating the pepperoni pizza hasn't destroyed their social life. Everyday, kids with allergies and diabetes self-regulate. Why not include your son in this? Honestly, I've had 3-year-olds tell me they are allergic to strawberry or don't eat certain dyes. Kids are capable when we don't worry about them being different (and this said by a parent whose kids have never had a happy meal lol.) Believe me, the junk thing drops off after 2nd grade.

 

Our schools have all sorts of healthy policies now. I approve but I don't need them personally. My kids know the drill and frankly, our diet is healthy enough normally that they can handle a cupcake a week. Police your own family first before policing everyone else. Teach them self-control before you worry about the self-control of others.

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#15 of 30 Old 01-30-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post


It doesn't make it impossible to make baked goods, or my child would never eat them. I agree that it would be hard for people that don't have allergies in their family to have the goods readily available. There is flour that is made from rice (opposed to wheat etc), there is egg substitute, and if the food is from a store, it would state whether it had the allergens in it. 



yes, and most prepared food from stores have allergens.

 

Schools have to choose between "only prepared foods from stores" and allowing parents to make things. We've done it both ways, and at our small private school, food from home works. But I don't see ANY public schools going that way. So I don't think that what you are asking for isn't going to happen.

 

What I see at my kids private school is that the CHILDREN want to bring in foods that everyone in their homeroom can share. For one of my DDs that means nothing with corn or corn syrup, and for the other DD that means no gluten. To attempt to make all food allowed into the school work for every child would be an unreasonable burden that would lead to no food sharing ever.

 

And sharing food is fun!


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 30 Old 01-30-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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I would probably start small, and bring up with the teacher that the sugar and food colouring affect my child.  Maybe a polite note could be sent home requesting less sugar and food colouring, which would allow people to make what they want, but bring it to their attention.  I am sure lots of parents would be happy to make plainer stuff.


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#17 of 30 Old 01-30-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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I also disagree about not being able to bring foods that might be allergenic on the list.  Parents could bring an alternative snack, as well as a snack containing allergens.  More than likely there is maybe one or two kids, if that, in a room that have those allergies.  Parents of kids that have allergies can also provide alternative snacks.

 

I agree with the other poster who said that the kid with special dietary issues needs to learn to self regulate.

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#18 of 30 Old 01-31-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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You could also suggest that birthdays are celebrated once a month.  That's what they did at DD's pre-school and it was great.  One round of cupcakes a month instead of cupcakes for each birthday.

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#19 of 30 Old 02-02-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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Our school has a "healthy food" policy. While I don't think that everything they serve in the cafeteria is healthy (i.e. they don't fry anything and they don't use salt etc, but they still rely heavily on processed foods and have very few fresh fruits or vegetables.  They also don't require that kids take the fruits or vegetables...my kids will eat it if it's on their plates but I found out recently they were not taking a lot of the healthier choices), I do think they are much improved from what they were serving prior to this policy.

 

One of the things I like about this program is that they are only allowed to have a celebration involving any food in the classroom once a month.  and, at each of those celebrations, they can only one one sweet or junky item and they have to have something healthy.  So, they might have pizza but  they have to have salad or fruit to go with it.  And, they celebrate birthdays once a month (combined with the holiday if there is a holiday in that month) where they can have cupcakes but they don't have cupcakes AND candy etc. 

 

The recommended healthy snack list is below (I don't consider all of these "healthy" either, but they are better than some things, I guess)

 

Healthy Snacks
Lowfat Milk/Flavored milk – 100 % Juice
Water/ flavored water (calorie free) – Fresh fruit assortment
Fruit and cheese kabobs – 100% fruit snacks
Fresh vegetables – String cheese/ cheese cubes
Pretzels – Baked Chips – Low fat popcorn - Fruit roll up
Graham crackers – Vanilla wafers – animal cookies – angel food cake
Pizza with low fat toppings – apples with fat free caramel dip
Yogurt smoothies – instant pudding made with milk
Crackers with cheese – Cheez its – Goldfish
Quesadillas & chips with salsa – low fat breakfast or granola bars
Trail/ cereal mixes – Peanut butter with apples, bananas or celery
Yogurt parfaits (yogurt, berries, granola, layered)
Fig Newtons – Raisins - Canned fruit – Rice Krispies Treats
Teddy Grahams – English Muffins – Prunes
Corn flakes – Mini Shredded Wheats – Special K – Cheerios
2 pack Lemon, Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Or 100 Calorie packs

 

I couldn't find a link to our healthy food policy but all food has to be less than a certain percentage of fat, etc.  This also applies to lunch brought from home. 

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#20 of 30 Old 02-02-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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I second (or third or fourth) that the first thing you need to to do is know what the school policy is so talk to the teacher. Find out what the deal is on all the sweets and get some background.

 

The second thing to do is become actively involved in the school- regularly attend PTO meetings and other school functions. Volunteer in the classroom. If you can't be actively involved with the school due to scheduling, etc than find a like minded friend who can. You can work thru and with them to effect change. The goal is to be a respected part of the community. Doing so makes implementing a change in policy that much easier.  

 

In that vein get to know the other parents, even those in different classes than your child. Talk them at play dates, school functions, at the playground.  Having other people in your court is more powerful. If you are the only once who cares about food issue it will be much harder to ask for change.

 

Lastly make sure you know what your end goal is-is it to ban all sugary snack/sweets? Is it to stop the celebrating of b-days/holidays in the classroom? Is it remove allergens? What *is* acceptable you?  What are you willing to compromise on?

 

I noticed a huge increase in processed foods in our son's (small private) school when they were forced to implement a "peanut/nut free" policy on the entire campus.  Now there are no more homemade flax seed oatmeal cookies, whole wheat banana muffins/cake, fruit salad, etc.  No more homemade anything. The policy was revised and includes a list of "approved" snacks-all of which are store bought, processed crap chosen because they were peanut free. While I have found a few whole/natural brand alternatives it gets expensive for 12 kids plus it has to be submitted for approval!

 

The majority of the parents have been very vocal in their unhappiness but there was too much liability and the insurance company forced them when a child with a severe peanut allergy enrolled. At this point we are still working within the system to get the policy changed and all but an small % of the parents and lawyers agree. Until then most parents are trying to choose the least offenders from the list but some have given up so we have seen a increase in artificially dyed squeeze yogurts, "fruit" snacks, etc.

 

However on a positive note the school did really up their already fabulous cafeteria which has been a boon.  


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#21 of 30 Old 02-04-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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St Paul Public Schools has a 'Healthy Celebrations' policy, dicouraging cupcakes and such.

http://ns.spps.org/sites/3045cf14-0431-4dc4-af6f-c79a83745084/uploads/Healthy_CelebrationsBW.pdf

Do a little research and bring it up with the PTA, principal, school district meeting, etc. See what you can get started!

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#22 of 30 Old 02-04-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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link didn't work. would like to read it if there is another link!


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#23 of 30 Old 02-04-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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DD1's school sent home a newsletter saying that no birthday treats were allowed (above kindergarden) but that same newsletter contained notices about two "very important" fundraisers involving McDonalds and cookie dough sales.  uhoh3.gif

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#24 of 30 Old 02-04-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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DD1's school sent home a newsletter saying that no birthday treats were allowed (above kindergarden) but that same newsletter contained notices about two "very important" fundraisers involving McDonalds and cookie dough sales.  uhoh3.gif



biglaugh.gifThat totally cracked me up! 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 30 Old 02-14-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:

 

Schools have to choose between "only prepared foods from stores" and allowing parents to make things. We've done it both ways, and at our small private school, food from home works. But I don't see ANY public schools going that way. So I don't think that what you are asking for isn't going to happen.

 

 

I think it's very regional and probably has a lot to do with insurance and liability laws. At our small, midwestern, local public school we bring home made treats. I'll also agree that banning everything on the top allergen risk will have little support and little success. For MOST people, it does eliminate all kinds of baked goods. YES - they could potentially figure out how to bake gluten-free but I can't see that happening for MOST people.

 

and for the record - my kid will be brininging cupcakes out of box and pre-made pink dyed icing for her b-day next week -  thumb.gif


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#26 of 30 Old 02-14-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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If you don't want your child to have a cupcake every so often at school you should either give them an alternative snack or bring an alternative snack for him to share if it is a class party. I agree there needs to be a balance of healthy snacks and sweets at school parties but I don't think one parent who doesn't let their child have sweets gets to tell everyone else that they can't bring them in either. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about food for their family and I respect that. However, the respect goes both ways. Just because a parent brings in cupcakes with blue icing for a birthday snack does not make them bad parents or mean they don't care about their child. Sometimes I think the posts on this topic come across that way, with a lot of judgment. We have enough restrictions and regulations about food at school parties already, I don't think we need to add more.

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#27 of 30 Old 02-14-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Next year DD will be going to a public school district one over from Ellien's and only store bought food is allowed. This frustrates me since DD has allergies and I can do a better job of making sure this one snack is okay for her. I'll probably end up sending the small packages of Oreos or Teddy Grahams since I don't trust store bake goods. I've considered buying some pasteboard boxes and doing up my own labels but I should probably set a better example for my kids. 

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#28 of 30 Old 02-14-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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We have these restrictions because an obesity epedemic, children with allergies, and other issues that may dictate certain diets.  I am so glad DDs school will not let snacks for Bday parties.  Instead they are asked to donate a book to the class library and they all read it and sing happy birthday. 

 

 

For class parties everything is planned ahead of time and surrounds the unit theme.  Also a few parents whose kids have wheat / gluten / and lactose intoleranvces get together and make alternatives for them.  

 

For example they had an Alice tea party on Friday and the food were scones, herbal tea, fruit, and cheese sandwiches. 


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#29 of 30 Old 02-14-2011, 03:38 PM
 
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I back the others who've suggested PTO involvement.  But you mentioned something else that's not being addressed--the cafeteria menu.  Unlike birthdays, that's something that children deal with every single day.  Don't get me wrong, still address the parties and cupcakes.  But work on the school lunches while you're at it because it's a more frequent concern and something you may have a stronger say in.

 

ETA: I was talking with my friend the other day about the ridiculousness of school sweets.  From October through April, there's always some holiday that justifies massive candy consumption.  eyesroll.gif   If kids aren't receiving the candy, there eating all of the leftover stash.  Birthdays only compound the problem, so I definitely know how you feel.


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#30 of 30 Old 02-18-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masel View Post

DD1's school sent home a newsletter saying that no birthday treats were allowed (above kindergarden) but that same newsletter contained notices about two "very important" fundraisers involving McDonalds and cookie dough sales.  uhoh3.gif



At first glance that sounded really strange that treats were banned while fast food and icky processed cookie dough were ok but the more I think about it the more I think that's ok. Parents have little control over what their kids are consuming in the classroom when other kids are bringing in treats plus there are allergy issues. Parents are ones who decide to take their kids to mcdonalds or feed them cookies outside of school. It could also be that treats in the classroom are disruptive and get the kids riled up over the anticipation of the sugar and the sugar high after. 

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