You Deserve a Treat! – Coca Cola at School?

“We should treat ourselves.”
“What a treat.”
“That would be a treat.”
“Let’s give the kids a treat.”
“Trick or treat.”

My Grandmother told me that when she was a little girl living on a tobacco farm, she’d sometimes get to go visit her uncle. He kept a tin of saltines and a tub of peanut butter and he would let the kids have some ‘as a treat’.  It was indeed a big treat for them.  That same grandmother used to let me have some ‘Co-cola’ and Ritz crackers.  To me, that was a big treat.

Treats sure have come a long way.

It is hard to think of a place or an activity short of hiking where junk food beyond my Grandmother’s wildest imaginings of a ‘treat’ are not available or not furnished.

For the second year in a row, I was informed that soda would be used as a reward in my child’s school reading program.  You can imagine after reading about my reaction to the changes in Breyer’s ice cream, what THAT sounded like.

The good thing about facing the same troublesome plan 2 years in a row, is that my ducks, in the form of research and written communications, were also in a row.  Now I should say that we are very fortunate to live in a county with an excellent school system with which I am extremely pleased.  The teachers are thoughtful, dedicated professionals who are just trying to get the reluctant readers in their classrooms to get reading.  I get it.  What I don’t get is the lag time between all of the research condemning soda and  a concordant approach to providing soda to children.

But there it is.  Old habits die hard.  We all like treats.  We like to provide them and we like to consume them.  In fact, if you listen to Madison Ave, we all deserve a treat, today… several times a day… what the heck, how about right now?

So if you are faced with the problem of soda and/or candy, chips, etc. being offered as rewards, incentives, or just because all of the little angels truly do deserve a treat today… here is a suggestion that worked for me.  Twice.  Go to your county’s public school website.  Look for information about policies.  It may be under school board (that’s where I found mine), or it maybe under something that sounds legalistic.  My county has a wellness policy for students that states that at the K-8 level, food should not often be used as a reward, and if it is, it should be healthy food.  In a nutshell that’s what it says.  Both years I emailed this policy to one or more teachers involved in the dreaded reading program, along with many compliments and appreciations over the difficult job that these teachers perform (and I meant them… I used to be one, and we have been blessed with GREAT teachers here).  Both times the plan has been changed.  This year the principle is discussing with the cafeteria manager if they can come up with something that fits the bill and they will forward a list when they have a plan.

It will be a treat to see a list devoid of soda…. and I hope other processed foods.  Those of us who are concerned about our children’s diets are just going to have keep speaking up.  In public, at gatherings, when planning children’s activities, wherever the group hasn’t  yet realized that soda is not a treat, it’s a poison.  It is not a sustaining beverage, it is a poison.  Soda is a poison that is weakening this nation.  I know that is high drama, but I believe it to be true.  We had better start fighting back because the beverage companies have a powerful ally beyond lawyers and lots of money.  The even more powerful ally that they have is our desire to give and get treats.  I”ve heard it said that this probably stems from our hunter/gatherer ancestors who had to take advantage of a honeycomb or fruit tree in season, because that ‘treat’ would soon be gone with no more sugar in sight for months at a time.  Whatever it is, it’s powerful.  Treat yourself to some research about soda and the power of Big Food.  It is scary stuff.

Your child does deserve a treat.  Give them the best treat there is – the healthiest body possible to help them achieve their greatest potential?   It will be a treat to see all the great things they create and do and live!

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26 responses

  1. Thanks for your tireless efforts. I remember when mine were small, it was always cupcakes, every time there was a birthday or a reward. I never recall soda being offered as a treat. Sugar is sugar, and that’s the last thing an active little kid needs at school. What’s really frightening now is that dentists are seeing enamel vanish from teens’ teeth at an alarming rate, and they are attributing it to all the power drinks, Gatorade being the top of the list. There are occasions when you need electrolyte replacement, but these kids are being offered this stuff at every game, party, everywhere, and and they are sucking it down and the acid is eating the enamel. Go after Gatorade, Big Sis!! – Kaye

  2. soda, sugar, lollies, gum, it’s all sugar… my dd’s single year in school (last year/g 7) was a constant barrage of ‘treats’ for good behavior, attendance, scores, etc. It’s ridiculous….particularly when they have six or seven teachers/day! And like you I get that the teachers are just hoping against hope there is something they can get the kids to work for/toward, but it is the wrong plan. Thanks for ALL the kids in your school who will benefit from your good work BigSis!

    • It’s all relative. I often have a similar discussion with patients who enjoy the best broth they ever had after not being able to eat for a prolonged period. Nothing like some good broth, eh? Or better yet… some peanut butter and crackers! :-)

  3. This makes me really happy! I feel like I’m the only mom who is fighting this stuff at my kids schools, I’m going to follow your lead and see if our district has the same policy and kindly remind the teachers to use it.

    • I hope they do! I just got an email from the PTO of my son’s school looking for …. you guessed it, soda, candy and chips to use as rewards at monthly assemblies. Yikes! I guess I’m just going to the principle so maybe we can get a school wide accord over following county policy!!

      • You are making me re-think the drug free campaign I am involved with in the PTA next month. The committee wants to hand out smarties, with the saying “smarties don’t do drugs!” (one of many things being done during the red ribbon week. There’s got to be a better way to get the message across.

      • I’ve been trying to think of something else you could hand out.. You know part of the appeal of candy is that it’s cheap – and of course they like it! Maybe something with an owl icon on it, “Wise enough to be drug-free”? Pencils with owls on them?… or brains? “Too brainy for drugs” Erasers that look like brains? I bet Oriental Traders has something like that. Good luck!

    • I was pretty stunned myself. I was so lucky that a policy about that already existed and all I had to do was point that out to them. I’m happy to say they were very gracious about it and have eliminated soda and candy as rewards school wide. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pingback: You Deserve Real Food….. Baby Step #8 | my sister's pantry

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