soft drinks; pop; sports drinks

Soccer Mom On A Mission…Watch It!

by Sally on March 13, 2014

Two years ago, I tromped around the soccer fields in my community, snapping photos of the snacks I was seeing. I set the photos to music and turned them into a video slideshow called “Soccer Mom On A Mission”, with the hopes of raising awareness and mobilizing a new wave of Snacktivists to create change.

After a few computer glitches, the slideshow is back! It’s new and improved–and on YouTube.

Watch. Share. Get resources you can use, like sample coach and team emails, in my Sports Snacktivism Handbook.

Make change happen for your child’s team!

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OLYMPICS-MCNUGGETS

“McDonald’s is, like, the official restaurant of everything.”

That’s what my nine year old said to me as we were watching the Olympics the other night. That’s because every 10 minutes that McDonald’s commercial was on the screen. You know which one I’m talking about: the split-screen showing an Olympian biting their gold medal on one side and a person biting their Chicken McNugget on the other.

At first, I wondered: What’s the message of this ad? That if you eat enough Chicken McNuggets you’ll become a Olympian? That taking a bite of fast food is somehow as thrilling as receiving the highest athletic honor awarded on an international stage? Then I found out that the TV spot is called “Celebrate With a Bite”. So apparently, we’re supposed to celebrate someone else’s athletic achievement by eating a lump of processed chicken? I’m still confused.

A grown-up can see the silliness of this ad. A child? Maybe not.

That’s why I’m doing some deprogramming while we watch the speed skaters and snowboarders. Because while I love a lot of what the Olympics teach my kids–that hard work pays off no matter what your goal, that you can overcome challenges and setbacks, that there’s much to learn about other countries and cultures–I don’t love the messages they’re getting from most of the food advertising.

Here’s what I’m teaching them instead:

  • McDonald’s isn’t the official restaurant of the Olympics because it’s good food for the athletes or spectators. McDonald’s spends a lot of money to be there.
  • Just because an Olympian endorses McDonald’s or Subway doesn’t mean that the food is good for them or for you. It doesn’t even mean the athlete eats that kind of food. It means they’ve been paid to say they like it.
  • Athletes, even those on the college level, work with dietitians to develop an eating plan that will keep them fueled and focused. You don’t become a great athlete on a steady diet of fast food and junk food.
  • Coke is not what athletes use to stay hydrated. They drink water. (Some may use sports drinks, but most kids don’t need them.)

I want my kids to get the counter-message to all these commercials and become savvy enough to see through the glitz and fun that millions of ad dollars can buy. They’re capable of understanding these concepts. And hopefully if they understand those concepts, they won’t come to associate being cool and having fun with eating McDonald’s and drinking Coke. They’ll see it for what it is: People trying to make a lot of money.

How disappointing that athletes–including Olympic athletes–so often endorse junk food. An incredible 79 percent of the foods and drinks athletes endorse are high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like Oreos, McDonald’s, and Mountain Dew, according to a study last year. Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead, they endorsed products that were in line with the kind of healthy lifestyle they themselves are presumably living–the kinds of lifestyles we want our kids to be living too?

Wouldn’t it be nice if fruits and vegetables were, like, the official foods of everything?

I wrote this post as part of the Olympic Moms campaign, which encourages families to use the Olympics as an inspiration for better health, fitness, and family fun. Download the free Participant Guide for ideas, expert advice, and recipes.

OlympicMoms Logo 3

 

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Why I’m No Fan of Sports Drinks

January 22, 2014

The longer I am a parent, the more irritated I become about sports drinks. I am irritated that million-dollar marketing tactics are used to woo children with star athletes, logos splashed all over televised sporting events, and online comics and games. It’s wrong. How wrong? Last year, Gatorade actually developed a video game in which the player maneuvers […]

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Why I’m Glad I Bought The Gatorade

July 26, 2013

It was a case of poor planning. My husband and I had taken our nine year old, Henry, to an outdoor center to play mini golf and hit balls at the batting cages. It was steamy hot, and while I had remembered the hats and sunscreen, I had forgotten water. There were no water fountains, […]

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Ambushed by Big Soda on the Soccer Field

April 19, 2013

Something happened on the soccer fields last weekend that made cupcakes seem tame by comparison: A rep from 7 Up worked the crowd, offering free diet soda to parents and kids. When I found out about this through some friends–and confirmed it with a call to our rec center–I felt my blood pressure rise about […]

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Soccer Snacktivism Handbook

August 28, 2012

Soccer season has officially begun–and if you’re fed up with junk food snacks on the sidelines and want to take Snacktivism to your child’s team, I’d love to help you! Below are four resources for you to use: A sample coach letter A sample team letter FAQ to answer questions from coaches or parents Please […]

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On the Front Lines of Snack-tivism

July 25, 2012

My son’s day camp at the local university had everything going for it: Flexible drop-off for working parents, after-care swim lessons, a full day of sports and activities that made bedtime blessedly early. But alas: The snacks. The first day, the campers were given Fruit Roll-Ups and Powerade. The next, it was Cinnamon Toast Crunch […]

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Soccer Mom on a Mission: The Music Video!

March 5, 2012

By now, most of you know that I get a little feisty about soccer snacks. And t-ball snacks. (Read “Soccer Mom Soapbox” and “That Mom: The Sequel“). I know a lot you feel the same way. (Though some of you don’t.) Last fall, I decided to start documenting the snacks I was seeing on the sidelines of […]

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Pop Life

August 16, 2010

Apparently, when six-year-old boys aren’t talking about Star Wars, they’re talking about pop. All of a sudden, Henry is full of tales about kids who brought Pepsi in their lunch to camp or drank Mountain Dew at their cousin’s birthday party. And he’s asking me questions like, “What does Sierra Mist taste like?” and “What’s […]

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