Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where Are You Going With That Yogurt, Anyway?

So far, for preschool snack, Julia has had, per her report, "teddy bear cookies," "robot crackers," "multicolored Goldfish," and bright blue "Go Yogurt" ("Mama, it's yogurt you can GO WITH"). Plus, each day, juice, not water, to drink with it.

OK, so I know there are far worse things than "multicolored Goldfish." And no, I'm not throwing a holier-than-thou, crazy-health-food-nut-parent fit about the processed snacks (all of which are completely new to Julia, and about which she is totally confounded: such "treaty" snacks?! Every day?! WITH JUICE??). But it bothers me that this losing control over my child's nutritional habits has to begin, however incrementally, so early. I already knew they'd be serving her "deep-fried shrimp poppers" for lunch in first grade--and I've already had an internal heart attack about it. But at age three, in preschool, they're feeding her bright blue, sugar-laden yogurt, when at home she is perfectly happy with--adores, even!--PLAIN, all-natural, unsweetened yogurt?

Why, people? What's wrong with apple slices? What's wrong with whole-wheat crackers instead of sugary teddy bear cookies? Why do we have to start on this junky road so soon?

11 comments:

Nonna said...

I have a feeling that if they served plain, non-sweetened yogurt to 20 nursery school students, they would be throwing away 18 of the containers. Maybe I'm wrong, but Julia is the only child I have ever known who would eat that stuff (and other adults I know use it in place of sour cream...) You might think this alone would endear her to her forays into the world of formal education!! You could check and see if the daily juice is 100% juice and be comforted if it is as I just read an article from the Pediatrict Assn. saying that children who drink up to 10 oz. of 100% juice per day are no more likely to become obese than those who don't. Of course there is a great likelihood that they serve Hi-C or kool-aid...but hopefully they know better! All this reminds me: we have never yet taken Julia to McDonald's!!

Shan said...

I'm definitely not expecting preschool to serve plain yogurt. I'm just illustrating what a huge difference it is to her to be served artificially colored, artificially flavored, sugar-filled yogurt. I still say, what about apple slices, whole-wheat crackers, wheat mini-bagels, banana halves, all-natural string cheese? WATER? (FREE!)

donna said...

Did you know what kinds of snacks would be served before you enrolled her? Is there anything in the handbook about what snacks they will be serving?

donna said...

The reason I ask is because I found that some places will state "healthy snacks" and others won't. Most that stated they give healthy snacks did. Not all preschools in our area serve 100% juice, whole wheat bread and fruit. And for me, that WAS a factor in deciding on a preschool for my son.

Laura said...

I agree about the low-quality snacks so far. Although, A did mention a jelly sandwich with the multi-colored fish, but I presume it was made of some wonder-bread substance. If she did eat it, it might be a small victory since she won't eat jelly. Not that it is essential to health, jelly. Only that she's so inflexible.

I swear, around here I have absolutely lowered my standards about what constitutes a "meal."

But I'm counting on the group peer pressure to perhaps interest A in things like carrot sticks (with dip!), yogurt with tiny chunks in it, or any type of meat.

As far as the juice goes, I'm just glad when my little one ingests any type of hydrating liquid. The doctor told me not to limit her. Anything she wants to drink, she usually gets. But still, if everyone were drinking water at snack time, she probably would, too.

Jordan said...

Eek, I'd feel the same way. Lyle's co-op is super crunchy and quite strict about the snacks they serve. Not only are they hyper-vigilant about the "no nut policy" (more than anywhere I've ever heard of) but there is a pretty strict healthy snack policy, and NO juice allowed, only water. So I don't think your concerns are out of whack at all, and probably if a few parents brought it up and presented the school with a list of alternatives that could be purchased in bulk, they might make some changes. Jeepers, they should: they have a responsibility to promote healthy eating!

Do parents supply any of the snacks? At our school, the co-op provides the dried goods, parents (the ones working that day) bring dairy (yogurt or cheese) and fresh fruit/veggies.

Shan said...

Hey all, forgot to mention that it's the PARENTS who take turns bringing the snack. What I didn't know until yesterday is that it's also the parents' job to bring the beverage along with the snack-food. I believe the nursery school (which is a co-op as well) provides guidelines about "healthy snacks," but people, I have learned that folks' definitions of "healthy" vary an awful lot!!! And don't always line up with what our family calls healthy!

However...I wonder if anything can be done to de-normalize the bringing of juice for snack-time beverage. No one NEEDS juice. (Except maybe Laura's daughter!) Why can't they all drink water? My friend Connie said to me when she heard all this, "So, when it's your turn, what are you going to do? Bring water?"

Well? Good question. Yes?

Heidi said...

Maybe all the parents would be GLAD to be freed up to bring water and not have to spend so much extra on juice. Then again, they'd probably all feel they had to bring *bottled* water....

Jordan said...

Sure, you should definitely bring water! I heard that they used to serve juice at our co-op until this year - really, only parents can make those kinds of changes, so you should speak up and also bring the kinds of snacks you want Julia to have.

donna said...

I think you should bring whatever you want to bring. That's the point of the co-op. And if the kids don't eat what you bring, you'll know that most kids don't eat plain yogurt (how about mixing plain with some flavored - that's what we do in our house) and you can bring something else next time (so as to not waste money).

If it were me, I'd bring fruit and milk. (How about milk as a 'compromise' between juice and water? And more nutrient dense than either!)

Shan said...

I was thinking fruit and water. I'll update you all when it's my turn! Oh, and I forgot to answer Donna's question about weighing snack policies as part of the which-preschool? decision. We live in a small town (population 17,000). We knew of 3 preschools last winter at open house/registration time (a 4th has since opened, but we didn't know about it then). One is a Montessori, in which we were not interested (interesting side note: we have since learned, from friends whose daughter goes there, that they serve things like Pop-Tarts and cheese puffs--I am totally serious!--for snack there). The other church-housed preschool was one I had heard negative feedback about from a fellow mom whom I trust. The co-op nursery school we chose, housed in the Methodist Church one mile from our house, is 65 years old and was/is routinely described to us as the best preschool in town by everyone we spoke with, especially fellow academics at the college where Christopher works. So, the snack policy really didn't play a role in our decision; it was more like we felt that this was our only reasonable (for us) choice. Also, having never had a child in preschool before, and being a naive health-conscious parent who genuinely assumed that everyone else in the world would have the same notion of a healthy snack for 3-year-olds at preschool as I did, I never gave "snacktime" even one split second of thought. It didn't even occur to me that there would be anything to consider about it. I know/knew all about trashy public-school lunches for grade-schoolers on up, but I just didn't think about preschool. I guess maybe I didn't even know if they had snack or not (the day is only 2-1/2 hours long).