Rethinking Classroom Parties Part 1: Why We Need to Chuck the Junk Food

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Are you dreading all the junk food your child will eat at class parties and birthday celebrations?  

When my kids were in public school, I was shocked by how much sugar was allowed into the classroom. Treats for every birthday celebration, class party and even for good behavior added up quickly. It was way more junk food than I wanted my kids to eat on daily and weekly basis!  If found myself asking, "What are we teaching kids when every class party involves junk food and sugary treats?" and "How can we honor the celebrations without making it about sugar?"   

The old saying holds true, "we are what we eat." Unfortunately, these days kids are exposed to a variety of foods that offer little nutrition and plenty of sugar, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives.   While a little bit of junk food now and again isn't harmful, the frequency and amount kids are exposed to today is alarming!  These foods can affect a child's behavior and ability to learn.  

Junk Food Poses a Serious Health Issue

I’m not some kind of anti-sugar health-nut. Rather, I’m concerned with the quantity of junk food kids are consuming because it’s bad for their overall health. It leads to childhood obesity, tooth decay, behavioral issues, attention issues, sleeping problems, and other more serious health issues. Food additives, like MSG, are “excito-toxins” that have a negative effect on the brain.  Kids are especially sensitive to excito-toxins and in large amounts they can cause brain damage resulting in learning disabilities, ADHD, rage, and social dysfunction.(1)  Food colorings are linked to aggravating conditions like ADHD.(2) These are major problems that interfere with learning! So why we’re feeding our kids this kind of stuff at school?  It’s time to stop!
 

Watch this video and learn how junk foods are sneaking into the diet and what it does to kids:

   

Let's Restyle Classroom Parties! 

It seems that sugar and other junk foods have taken over celebration time at school!  I've talked to many parents over the last couple years about this. Many of them told me they do their best to avoid junk food and would actually prefer to leave the junk out of the classroom, too.   If your child is affected by sugar or food allergies, class parties can be particularly challenging when they involve foods.   

It’s About Healthy Habits

With an increasing number of children suffering from food allergies, obesity and ADHD, it's time for things to change. Let’s model healthy behavior and teach our kids to be healthy at home and at school.  If we’re willing to change the norm, others will follow. Many parents will be relieved and supportive! Learn how to restyle classroom parties to be ALL about the FUN and not the food in...  

Part 2: Rethinking Classroom Parties: Bring the Fun Not the Food

Part 3: Why One Teacher Doesn’t Allow Sugar in Her Classroom

 

Can you relate?  Have you ever had the experience of picking up your child from school only to find out they're in sugar shock!

 

Leave your Comments Below.

This post was shared on:

Natural Living Monday by Naturallivingmamma.com

Thank Goodness It's Monday by Nourishingjoy.com

Real Food Wednesday by Kellythekitchencop.com

Simple Lives Thursday by Homespunoasis.com

Old Fashioned Friday by Ourheritageofhealth.com

Natural Family Friday by Naturalfamilytoday.com

Let's Get Real Friday Party by Jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com

Simply Natural Saturday by Thepistachioproject.com

References:
(1) Excito-Toxins:Taste that Kills a Book Review.  Elizabeth Fulton.  8/14/2013. http://www.shahed.us/organizations/cri/educational/Brain/pdf/CRI-brain-Excitotoxins.pdf
(2) What Does Research Say About Food Additives and ADHD.  Mayo Clinic Website.  8/14/2013. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/AN01721

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7 comments

Robin- I love this topic. One near and dear to my heart. I have been taking with my daughter's school about options as we have been up against this for two years now. great work! Nichi
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Audry Godwyn Sep 9, 2014 12:15pm
I really like your No Food Parties idea! The only problem is that kids and adults alike need a food for celebration, I make 2 different kinds of healthy cakes made with no sugar or flour. You can see the recipe here for chocolate cake http://anutritionalmakeover.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/cocoa-cake-gluten-free-paleo/ And here for banana cake http://anutritionalmakeover.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/amazing-flour-less-banana-bread/ And for drinks...water, kombucha, habiscus honey sweetened tea...? Other food-less ideas...face painting, fingernail painting, crown making craft (let kids cut, color, paint and design; glue, beads, etc...)
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I couldn't agree more, Robin. It's absurd how much sugar is brought into the classrooms these days. Sadly, even the school-provided food is just loaded with sugar and processed carbs, which does nothing to support kids' attention and learning abilities. Maybe instead people could bring in art projects for kids to work on or a fun game, just as you suggested. Even school gardening programs can be tons of fun or a field trip to a local farm and then kids actually want to eat what they grow!
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I love this idea! We have to move away from the idea that food equals celebration. There are so many other ways (I love the idea bringing a book to the library and having it dedicated to the B-day child!). Something to think about for parties at our home, as well... instead of sugary candies and treats in the "favor bag" we gave out a favorite book this year. Small changes will help shift this tradition over time!! Thanks for so many great ideas.
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Let's Get Real Link Party #57 | Little Family Adventure Jan 26, 2015 01:02pm
[…]  Let’s Make Class Parties about Fun […]
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15 Ideas for ALL FUN no food classroom parties and birthday celebrations Aug 15, 2016 04:41pm
[…] Part 1: Why We Should Chuck the Junk Food […]
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Why I Decided Not to Allow Sugar in My Classroom: A Teacher's Story - RobinRayGreen Aug 15, 2016 09:06pm
[…] Rethinking Classroom Parties Part 1: Why We Need to Chuck the Junk Food […]
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