I’m happy to report that the t-ball team parents have done a terrific job with snacks. While the opposing team is grabbing Capri Suns and Cheetos, the Orioles are eating bananas and apple slices and nobody’s complaining about it. At least not to my face.
Except for this exchange that happened on the way home from the game on Saturday:
Henry: I hope someone starts bringing some good snacks soon, like chips or something.
Me: We’re only doing fruit this season.
Henry: Seriously?! The other team had, like, Gatorade and Ritz Bits!
Me: I know.
*Pause * Pause*
Henry: Well, I hope someone starts bringing some good fruit soon, like raspberries.
I was thrilled that some of you actually passed along my letter to your child’s coach or team parents regarding sports snacks. Most said the idea went over well. But at least one person got serious push back. Not from kids clamoring for cupcakes, mind you. From parents.
So if anyone else encounters moms and dads who insist on maintaining the junk food status quo when it comes to sports snacks, here are some points that can strengthen your case:
Parent Gripe #1: I don’t have time to wash and cut up fruit.
It takes the same amount of time to grab a bunch of bananas as it does to grab a case of Oreos. They’re cheaper, too.
Parent Gripe #2: Kids deserve a treat every once in a while.
Kids get treats at every turn: School, daycare, preschool, friends’ houses, birthday parties. Treats are not the exception anymore, they’ve somehow become the rule. As a result, toddlers and preschoolers currently take in 16 teaspoons of added sugar every day, and 6-11 year olds get 24 teaspoons. One in three children is overweight or obese today. That’s triple the rate from when we were kids. Triple.
Parent Gripe #3: My child won’t eat fruit. If you want fruit for your kid, just bring some for him.
The simple fact is that most kids are not going to choose fruit over a Fruit Roll-Up if given the chance. That’s why those other choices need to be eliminated entirely. And don’t underestimate your child: You’d be surprised at the effect that positive peer pressure has on kids. They’re more likely to eat something new or different if they see their friends chowing down on it too. But if you’d prefer that your child have something else, give it to them in the car on the way home.
Parent Gripe #4: Why do we even need snacks?
My thoughts exactly. Our kids are on the field for 60-90 minutes at the most. They will not keel over from starvation. But if the consensus is that snacks should be served, fruit is a no-brainer compromise. The scary truth is that 75% of 6-11 year olds don’t get enough fruit. And on any given day, 25% of toddlers and preschoolers don’t eat a single bite of it.
One final note before I shut up about snacks for a while (at least on this blog): I’ve been so happy with the response from parents and coaches about our team’s snack guidelines that I’ve contacted the local t-ball commissioner about establishing a healthy, league-wide snack policy. I’ll keep you updated.