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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Soccer Snacks

My youngest is now playing soccer, along with his older siblings.  It's adorable; the kids swarm around the field during their six five-minute three-on-three games like bumblebees.  They get very sweaty.  They have a lot of fun.  Some of them even seem to understand the basic rules.

But then comes the after-soccer "treat".  I'm used to this by now, since my oldest has been playing for nearly 10 years.  Most parents, even those who profess to be very concerned about health and particularly concerned that their kids stay fit, think that the after-soccer snack should be a "treat".

It's very ironic that such parents drag their kids from pill to post to make sure they get plenty of exercise and then hand them something like this:

Sorry the picture is small; that's a 10 oz. Nestle Juicy Juice Apple Juice and a Kraft Handisnacks Oreo Cookies 'n' Cream thing.

The juice has 140 calories and 33 grams of sugar.

The Kraft Handi-Snacks Cookies and Cream also has 140 calories and 13 grams of sugar (and 6 grams of fat).

According to this website, forty-six grams of sugar is equivalent to 3.8 tablespoons.  I measured that out; it looks something like this:

Anybody who reads this blog knows that I do not hold perfection up as the ultimate goal. But gosh darn it, we can do better than handing our kids 46 grams of sugar with next to NO nutritional value after a soccer game.

Irony?  I was debating folks yesterday at Consume This First about the benefits of bringing ice pops to soccer games.  (They were against; I was arguing they are hardly the worst choice.)  In fact, compared to what my kid got today, a popsicle looks positively healthy at 40 calories a pop and only 6.9 grams of sugar.  I agree that sliced oranges and water would be even better, but given the range of "bad" options, popsicles aren't so bad!

The Mom who is organizing the treats asked me if I wanted to participate.  She asked me this before I had even seen the treats for today.  Had I already known what was going to be offered, I might have phrased this differently, but I said:

"Sure!  I'd love to, but I have a bias in favor of healthy snacks and unprocessed food with no high fructose corn syrup."

She said, "Well...you can bring whatever you want to."

I said, "Well, I mean -- could we as parents kinda come to an agreement that we're ALL going to bring healthy snacks?  I mean, it's kind of ironic that we bring out kids out to play a sport and then sometimes feed them junk."

Her reply:  "If people already agree that they're going to put themselves out to bring a snack, we cannot tell them what then to bring."

There was a time in my life when I would have agreed with that. 

But now I no longer do.  Do you want your kid to be healthy?  Want to lower their risk of obesity and diabetes -- the former condition affecting up to 60% of US adults and the latter affecting up to 1 in 3 children born after 2000?  Step one might just be to stop feeding them so much sugar.

Whatever happened to after-dinner dessert being the only time during the day that people ate sugar?

Time to go back to the basics:  snacks are FOOD not processed junk.  And dessert is also FOOD and only once a day.

I'll be bringing the oranges and water.  We'll see what happens.


  1. "If people already agree that they're going to put themselves out to bring a snack, we cannot tell them what then to bring."

    This sounds exactly like the way we approach church! :-)

  2. I completely agree with this post. I like your visual about how much sugar is included and love the idea of dessert being a once a day treat.

    It's hard to keep my kids from getting the crappy snack most parents bring (last week was Oreos and Capri Sun). I think it would be much better to either limit snack to fruit and water or do away with team snack completely.

  3. OH MY GOSH I am so right there with you! I did a google search to try and find some healthy soccer/t-ball snacks to bring for my kids and your experience is almost exactly the same as mine. I shudder when they bring out the snacks (when I'm not the one bringing them) because of course my kids are so excited to eat the frosted cookies, rice krispie treats, and sugar water provided by all the other parents. I got lucky one day and they provided water and pretzels. I was so impressed! Of course the kids were disappointed. Anyway, I guess I'll be bringing oranges and water LOL :)


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