Carolyn Hax: Oreos or grapes for soccer practice?

Carolyn Hax:

April 6, 2014 

Carolyn: Both of my kids (under 7) participate in activities requiring a different parent to bring snacks each week.

Inevitably, some other parent will send around an email saying that it's best if the kiddos eat something with whole grains and no food coloring and please no juice because it has so much sugar in it and it would be best if you just brought apple slices. Because the obesity crisis is so, so very dire. The kids, Carolyn. Won't someone please think of the kids?

And it just shuts the rest of us parents up. And then at the soccer practice we all snicker about the busybody's emails behind her back, and then we all dutifully bring grapes instead of Oreos.

I mean, these are healthy, skinny kids. There is surely an obesity crisis in this country, but you'd never know it to look at my 5-year-old's soccer team.

What is the best way to tell these people to stuff a high-fructose sock in it?


Surely a syndicated advice columnist would be too shrewd to allow you to hijack her platform to serve your so-cool anti-purpose …

Oh, cane-sugar fudge. You got me.

There are food zealots, yes. There are also stuff-your-food-zealotry zealots, and when you've all moved past the parenthood phase of life, one of two things will be true: You'll recall these child-rearing dogmas and anti-dogmas and find them silly, or you'll be convinced your preferred (anti-)dogma is the very reason your children turned out so successfully compared with everyone else's botched science experiments.

If you envision yourself as the former, then just bring the (allergy-dodging) snack you want your kid to eat times 20 because that's the only sure way not to escalate a snack into a statement.

If you envision yourself as the latter, then by all means obey the snack police publicly and privately snicker like middle-schoolers.

If you want to go completely radical, then question the snack itself: Since when is it a collective truth that kids can't make it through an hour - right? - of swarm-soccer without organized caloric intervention?

Perhaps if the snack orthodoxy in schools and playgrounds and outside activities didn't lead to a potential, cumulative haul of a dozen sandwich-creme binges a week, those erstwhile food zealots would leave you to your corn syrup en route to other battles.

Bad dogma, bad.

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