Snacks Are Ruining the Country

girl, snack, blueberries, happy, child, fruitLet me just say … YAY!!! Finally, I have an opportunity to roll my soapbox out into the open. I have been complaining about snacks since I was a new mom in NYC. I’d feed Madelyn a good breakfast and take her to Central Park. There, I’d end up hanging out with other new moms who were also trying to figure out this parenting thing as they went along.
The minute a toddler whined or complained, a buffet of healthy snacks would magically appear. From the depths of designer diaper bags would come organic juices, small smoothies, orange slices, and pesticide-free granola, all wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging. Having forgotten to eat, my mouth would water. My diaper bag contained diapers. I was, at the same time, intimidated and ashamed by this clearly more competent, better mom, and vaguely disapproving of the use of food to solve any problem.
It wasn’t until the very real problem of childhood obesity came to the forefront, I really started to hate “Snack”. Daily school snacks, after-school snacks, snack parent at games, snack packs, snack bags, snack, snack, snack, snack! Snack is singlehandedly destroying the BMI of America. O.K. Maybe I exaggerate a bit. But, let’s think about it.

Weight problems have as much to do with the psychological as they do the physical. Teaching your children about food that is good for them is only one step toward making sure they have a healthy relationship with food. You also have to teach them about when and where to eat.

By giving them a snack — even a healthy snack — at every turn, here is what you are saying:
– food can cure any discomfort
– it is not o.k. to be hungry for even a moment (when in fact it is VERY O.K. to be hungry for more than a moment)
– no gathering of people, social, athletic, scholastic or otherwise is complete if we aren’t chewing on something
– you shouldn’t have to wait for a good meal
– the solution to boredom is eating

I love feeding my kids. I get an evolutionary-induced satisfaction from seeing them consume a good meal. I am not advising you to not feed your starving children. I am simply pointing out you are molding their future eating habits. A healthy relationship with food is about a lot more than fruits and vegetables.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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