Supersnack Me: A Rant

WHY is it that every single event that my children attend must involve a snack? Every basketball game, every bible study, every special class… Even when they are over at their friends’ houses they have open access to food at all times. I have two friends who keep a refrigerator fully stocked with juices, sodas, and snack foods in their garages, so that their children and children’s friends can have these items any time without the “inconvenience” of coming into the house. The other day I went to pick up my six year old from a neighbor’s house in order to bring him home for supper, and he was inside on their couch, watching television and eating a box of Whitman’s chocolates that the mother had given him.

Can you say Out Of Control?

My children are fully capable, although it’s never asked of them by anyone other than me, of going for an entire hour (say, of church) without a snack. They have had breakfast, and they will have lunch and dinner as well. They can even manage to play in a basketball game without needing a plastic bottle of juice to get them through. There are water fountains, after all, but I guess coaches no longer point the kids to them, and why would the kids go, when they have Sunny Delight Baja Red Punch and a snack pack of Oreo cookies dutifully brought by a parent for the entire team every game?

It could be that I’m the only parent in America who does not purchase CapriSun, Kool-Aid, or even Juicy Juice. I skip an entire aisle dedicated to these drinks in my grocery. We have orange juice and soy milk in the morning, and water the rest of the day. I do keep apples and other fruit, string cheese, microwave popcorn, and peanut butter cracker snacks in the house, but not fruit roll-ups, cookies, chips, or candy in small packets that my children can have at any time. I do enjoy a soda, but limit myself (and my children) to no more than two a week. I know one woman who prides herself on never drinking water – she calls it “nasty stuff” and exclusively provides diet drinks for her entire family. Her son is overweight.

It’s getting worse. You may think that because I don’t have a television, my kids don’t get hit as hard with the advertising. Think again. With the advent of commercial-skipping technology, advertisers are moving toward product placement advertising (a BMX biker wearing a Pop-Tarts branded shirt, for example, or a giant Teddy Grahams ad plastered on the skateboard ramp, or the hero in the Disney film having Sugar Smacks for breakfast), advertising in online gaming environments, branded internet environments, and text messaging ads.

We don’t have to be full, even of healthy foods. We don’t have to be full.

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