I may be a Nutritionist but that doesn’t mean my children are deprived of sweets or ‘treat’ (I hate that word) foods.
We have cake on our birthdays, we have chocolate at Easter, mince pies at Christmas etc etc.
When I was little we had 10p on a Friday after school to get a pick and mix up (jelly teddies used to be 4 for 1/2p, now I’m showing my age!!!), we had home-cooked meals (I may have been one of the lucky ones), and on Sunday we had a homemade dessert such as apple crumble, rice pudding after roast dinner and we had cakes for tea in the evening.
But, day to day we didn’t get lots of sugary foods, we weren’t exposed to the drip feeding of sugar like you see today.
In this country we have 1 in 3 children moving from Primary school to Secondary school being classed as overweight or obese. In reception there are 1 in 4 children classified as overweight or obese.
I really do not know when this trend started but it seems common practice to give out sweets to the class when it’s a child’s birthday. I would like it to stop. Not because I’m a grumpy miserable cow who wants to spoil everyone’s fun but because with the knowledge I have it greatly concerns me. I’m worried about the long-term effect for our children.
It is anticipated that in 2020 (which isn’t that far away), the NHS will be pushed to its limits supporting those with type 2 diabetes. A disease that can be completely reversed with diet and lifestyle changes, a disease that is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices.
Children as young as 8 years old are now being diagnosed with this horrible life limiting disease. A disease that increases the risk of suffering from a multitude of other diseases. Nobody wants that for their children, do they!?
I know that if your child is having a sugary treat right now, you cannot see the effect of it right now. Your child will be perfectly fine after eating that food – right now – but what about in the future – what about the cumulative effect of a constant drip feeding of sugar!?
If you could see the damage it was doing right now you wouldn’t give your children these things but because you cannot see it, you don’t have that emergency button switched on to warn you. This sugar feasting has become so intrinsic in our life that eating sweets (and not just sweets, other sugar loaded foods and drinks) has become the norm.
I say ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!
Let’s look at kid’s parties nowadays. How much sugar is at an average kid’s party? Well I’ll you it’s well over 15 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended amount is no more than 5 teaspoons a day.
And then on top of the weekly (sometimes twice a week) birthday parties that happen with 30 kids in a class there’s the added sugar that comes with the packet of Haribo given out in the class on the actual day of the birthday.
Now because there are 30 children in a class this happens at least once a week if not 2, 3 or even 4 times a week sometimes.
And they give it directly to the child, not the parent so you can’t control this, directly to the child. I hate being the ‘no’ Mum. So, what happens is that if you do not want your child to have the Haribo it causes a problem. They see their friends eating the sweets and it results in a stand off!!! I hate the standoff.
It’s not fair on those parents who want to give their children a healthy balanced diet.
This standoff is not forming a good relationship with food!
It’s not fair!
So, I want ALL Headmasters and Headmistresses of Primary Schools to ban the giving out of sweets (and other sugary treats) at school.
Please stop giving our children Haribo in Primary school.
Nearly all schools are signed up to the ‘Healthy Schools Policy’ so the giving out of sweets during school is quite frankly a complete joke. How is that a healthy school?
The amount of sugar a child should aim for is no more than 5 teaspoons a day but a bag of Haribo depending on the variety has at least 1.5 teaspoons per mini bag. We already know that children’s breakfasts are not good (and don’t get me started on the breakfast club menus!!!), with cereals and spreads coming with a big sugar load. In fact, it is estimated that most children will leave home with 2 or 3 teaspoons worth of sugar in them just from their breakfast!! For healthier options for breakfast click here.
And then I also have some strong opinions on school dinners, but I’ll leave that topic for now. Except to say the guidelines for school dinners are appalling, devoid of essential fats and wholegrain foods and then topped with a sugar loaded dessert as an option every day!
The problem is that children are far exceeding their intake of sugar EVERYDAY without even adding in the Haribo.
Constantly putting sugar in to a child on a daily basis is just setting them up for health issues in the future. Sugar is so addictive, we crave it because we are set up to seek it out. Our brain relies on glucose to function but years ago when we were subjected to both feast and famine we needed that safety mechanism. Nowadays it is one big feast! Too many nutrient devoid calories making us very ill.
We now eat in two weeks the amount of sugar we used to consume in 2 years! And that is not even that long ago. Our bodies simply cannot keep up with the evolution required to adapt to this HUGE shift in our diets.
We can directly see the impact of this when we look at the statistics on diabetes.
If you think about it, what is Haribo? It’s a combination of chemicals we can’t pronounce made in a processing plant. It had absolutely no nutritional value at all so why would we give that to our children as a treat.
I bloody hate that word ‘treat’, giving Haribo is the furthest food you could possibly give that treats the body.
So instead of giving out sweets when it’s your child’s birthday how about buying a book for the class. I know a school in Maidstone, Kent that encourages this. That way you provide the school with educational materials they so desperately need because they haven’t got enough funding now. The class gets to enjoy a new story and who doesn’t enjoy a story? The child gets to pick a book to share with the class which makes them feel special on their birthday. And then if you feel the need to give something out, why not a sticker or a pencil?? I appreciate there’s a financial implication, but books can be purchased so cheaply these days, or you don’t need to buy ANYTHING!!!
So please can we stop the Haribo at Primary school. Let’s protect our children’s health and support our NHS so they can do their vital emergency work and not have to pick up the pieces of our poor diet and lifestyle decisions.
Now if you feel as strongly about this as I do, please share this, especially if your school has a Facebook group. If you feel angry about what I said, then let me know. Go ahead, give me the angry face emoji!!! If you agree with me give me some love. Does your school have a ban on sweets?
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