Calories in the Classroom

Parents are frustrated with schools.  And I am not referring to the math, science or reading curriculum.  I am referring to the food brought into the classroom for students.  With dozens of kids in a class, there sure are a lot of birthdays to celebrate during a nine month school year.   Don’t forget about Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter.  What a load of sugar!  I don’t care if the kids are thin, there are too many calories in the classroom;  calories kids don’t need.  I propose that all American school celebrations be non-caloric. Here is how it works:

: Ask the birthday kid to bring a favorite new book with intentions of donating it to the school library.  Special stickers can be placed inside the book stating “This book honors (insert name) on his (insert age) birthday on (insert date)”.  Everyone should sing happy birthday too.  (That’s a lovely gesture on a special day)

:   Why do the kids need more candy than what they trick-or-treat for on October 31st?  Have the kids come to school dressed in their customes, study the history of the holiday and move on to math.
:  What a terrific opportunity to get kids writing!  Each kid brings Valentines for each classmate signed with a little note (of course this works if they have the ability to write).  Non caloric goodies like colorful pencils or stickers attached to Valentines are a fine giveaway.  Study the history of the holiday. And again, move on to the next lesson.EASTER:  This is similar to Halloween.  Why more candy? They are going to get Easter baskets full of it on Sunday.

GOOD GRADES:  Are you kidding me?  Giving kids ice cream parties if everyone in the classroom scores a B or above on the spelling test?  The incentive for good grades should not be food. The incentive for good grades should be an internal drive to do well and succeed.  Food should be eaten for hunger, not motivation to perform.

When I was growing up in the 1970’s I don’t ever remember having food in the classroom other than the lunch my mom packed me Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the hot lunch school provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And we ate the food in the lunchroom…at lunch time.  Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled. Our culture is too caloric. Schools need to take action, set policy for no food in the classroom and concentrate on providing education, not calories.

About Melanie Silverman

Melanie is a pediatric registered dietitian nutritionist (RD) and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) working primarily in pediatric nutrition for well over 15 years. She spent seven years as a clinical dietitian at The University of Chicago Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, adult and pediatric burn units, and high risk pediatric follow-up clinic. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. Melanie has presented at state and national meetings for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), March of Dimes, Prader-Willi California Foundation, Texas Prader-Willi Association, Oklahoma Prader Willi Syndrome Association, Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) in the United States and Canada and the Prader-Willi Syndrome USA (PWSA). She worked hard for her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Spanish from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group, Women’s Health Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and an active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association.