Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fruit Salad Heaven

My 5 year old's kindergarten class has snacks everyday.  Each child brings in a snack for the whole class once per month.  There is an approved snack list because it's a peanut-free room.  The only snacks on the list that we eat are fruits, veggies, cheese, and unsweetened applesauce.   Otherwise the foods look like this: Rice Krispie treats,  Go-Gurt, juice boxes, fruit snacks...you get my drift.  Foods with little to no nutrient value and high sugars.  Fortunately I was able to sign a waiver form so that I can bring in my daughter's own snacks for when the snacks aren't on the healthy side of the list (which is most of the time). 

Usually I just send in some unsweetened applesauce or cheesesticks for the kindergartners.  But in an effort to do something different, I made a fruit salad and took it in to the school yesterday.  Simple - just some cut-up apples, oranges, grapes and bananas thrown together.  And the kids loved it.  It was such a big hit and I was so pleased!  I didn't put anything on top or bring any sort of dip.  It was plain 'ol fruit and all but two of the children eagerly grabbed a bowl and starting chowing down.  Another two of the children came up to me afterwards and told me it was the best fruit salad they've ever eaten.  So cute.  And the teacher was thrilled as well.  She said it made her day to have a healthy, fresh, homemade snack brought in.

I am so grateful to have been able to make a difference that day.  I just wish I could make it everyday!  I feel strongly that it is not helping those 5 year old children to learn or pay attention any better to stop for a break of highly processed and refined snacks.  But this is our culture saying that it is OK.  What our "culture" does not know is that, within time, it is going to affect these kids negatively - if it's not already affecting them.  I know my kids would be different kids if they were partaking of those foods on a daily basis.  Now we just have normal kid misbehavior.  But, from personal experience and experimenting, I know that if they were eating those foods it would be more severe kid misbehavior.

(I write this as my almost 3 & 4 year old daughters sit near me eating lentil soup.  Start getting those good foods in them early.  The early start makes a huge difference! :-)