I organized the Valentine’s Day party in my son’s classroom this year. We have a lot of food allergies among the third graders–and I’m always looking for ways to reduce junk anyway–so we planned a buffet of red fruits and vegetables: red pepper strips, dried cherries, red raspberries, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, and all-fruit smoothies.
My son’s school has pretty strict guidelines about outside food. Each classroom receives a list of safe foods for class parties (based on allergies), and you’re not supposed to deviate from the list.
But apparently, there’s a Valentine Loophole.
So while I was busy and distracted arranging raspberries and handing out smoothies, my kids spent most of the party eating candy.
Since when did Valentine’s Day become the next Trick-or-Treat? Since when did candy Valentines become the norm? I don’t remember candy Valentines when I was growing up. I remember maybe getting a small box of conversation hearts from one child in the class. The rest were paper Valentines, no candy attached. I still loved getting those Valentines. I still loved Valentine’s Day.
Look, I’m okay with some candy. On Valentine’s Day, I gave each of my boys a small box of chocolates and they shared a little package of conversation hearts.
What I’m not okay with is food companies fabricating yet another way to market and sell junk to our kids. Because what they’re also creating is yet another way to make life harder on parents, who already defend against a daily assault of unhealthy food aimed at kids, who already have to say “no” and “not today” over and over and over.
I could confiscate my children’s candy. But I don’t. (Read: “The Mom I Can’t Be”.) What I will do is talk to the principal and preschool director at my children’s schools, and advocate for some kind of policy for next year.
If you feel the same way, I encourage you to do that too.