I am room mom for my food-allergy son’s class and I have volunteered to do this since he started kindergarten 3 years ago. I chose to become room mom for multiple reasons. I wanted the opportunity to share time with him and his class but ultimately I chose to be room mom to help keep him safe. I knew being room mom would give me the chance to be more aware and to have more control of the food served during classroom celebrations.
Every school event includes a reward of some sort and it seems to revolve around serving some kind of artificial sweet: Snow cones for this, cotton candy for that, tootsie roll pops for another. We are less than 3 months into school and this is what my children have been offered as rewards in school. How about changing the focus of the rewards and offer an extra 15 minutes on the playground, or an extra book from the library on library day?
I was thrilled to hear that my son’s teacher, whom I love, was keeping the Halloween celebrations simple. I was asked to provide a sweet snack, which I jumped at. I am thinking grape eyeballs, creepy carrot fingers, and apple mouths. Food allergies aren’t fun but I admit that I like that it gives me an opportunity to provide a healthier snack for everyone.
I can’t help but wonder why parents allow their kids to dictate what they bring. I have heard this a lot in the past couple of years… primarily when it is a kid’s birthday. Does the parent think that the kid is going to love them more for the junk food that they provide? Is that our goal as a parent? And who really wants to bring the junk food treat; the parent or the kid? And if the parents started by making eyeball grapes or creepy carrot fingers originally, what would the kids be asking for?
I am a Mom that wants the best for everyone, especially our children. I allow junk food and love junk food but I am also a strong believer in moderation and limiting unnatural foods. We live in a society that consumes a known carcinogen daily to allow ourselves the potential to over-indulge in other unhealthy foods. *Almost 70% of adults and over 30% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are considered overweight. The majority of society chooses to keep their eyes closed and not think about the chemicals they are consuming. It’s easier, right? Yes, that $.05 Kool Aid is less expensive in the short term BUT how much are your future medical bills going to be when your child becomes diabetic or gets cancer from the chemicals? Why are kids getting food allergies? Why do so many people have food allergies, cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other debilitating diseases?
I have learned over the years that being a food allergy mom has also given me the opportunity to be providing healthier AND safer alternatives to children. When a lot of parents are thinking unnatural sweets, I am thinking Mother Nature’s sweets. For instance for St. Patrick’s Day, what is the first food or beverage that comes to mind when you think green? I think avocado, green grapes, limes. This could be a great opportunity for the kids to learn about green foods that are healthy!
I understand that one kid may be allergic to fruit and another one may be allergic to vegetables. Each food allergy situation is different and they all need to be approached accordingly. The point that I am trying to make is that we should be more aware of what we consume overall. And I am questioning why we continue to limit our school celebrations so that they are only about food when they could include so many other healthy fun things and activities as well.
Holiday Craft Ideas courtesy of Pinterest
*Food Research and Action Center