little LADIES WHO LUNCH: School Ice Cream Party


Pictured: My 8 year old daughter’s choice for her ice cream sundae: Haagen-Dazs low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, chunks of frozen black cherries and a drizzle of dark chocolate.

The end of the school year is coming to a close, and we’ve taken part in one celebration after another — end of the…


Yes, the whole healthy nutrition, school-lunch thing has been politicized. And guess who’s being hurt?


Why wouldn’t all parents want their children to eat in a healthy way? Do they actually want their kids to be obese and feel sick and get diabetes or heart disease?

Those who think that proponents of healthy choices for their children are “police” or that the government is in their faces can choose not to have their children eat the healthy snacks. But why try to derail the rest of us from making our choices, from trying to give our children the gift of a healthy life?

I also have a daughter who had food limitations. She has a life-threatening allergy to fish and certain tree nuts. There never was a problem at school — or anywhere else — when she was young. The school, camp, even certain restaurants and other places we went were more than happy to accommodate. No one felt I was the police. No one felt that their rights were being infringed because I asked that the smoked salmon be put at the other end of the room (in fact many of our friends simply refrained from serving those foods when Gillian was going to be present. And no one said boo about it.)

Today I would be regarded as the food police. Or one of those parents whose kids are fussy (as opposed to having an actual anaphylactic-prone allergy). As a person who prevents others from eating peanuts on an airplane. As if eating peanuts on an airplane is a Constitutional right. 

I also never wanted to be the mother who sent her kids to school with carrots and raisins when the other parents sent chips and cheese doodles. But I also didn’t want to send chips and cheese doodles. It’s difficult to keep a stand and yet not be the weird one. In those days (my daughters are now in their 30s), granola bars and peanut-butter/cheese snacks were touted as “healthy” (oh my!). So that’s what I sent. I am sure my kids traded sometimes with the chip and cheese doodle kids.

That’s okay. I am not the food police. And I don’t think they did that every day.

Sometimes you can make progress little by little. We can’t convince people to change their ways all at once. But we can do it one small step at a time. Slowly. This kind of education always takes longer than we think it will.

And in the meantime, those who want to politicize this will keep on keeping on because they have a political agenda to achieve. They don’t care about the kids. If they did, at least for this one issue, they wouldn’t use the children as bait for their ideology. They wouldn’t work so hard against those who are trying to educate parents and young people about healthier dietary choices. No matter what their political agenda, they would all choose health and life.

One further word, as long as I am now on my soap-box. It’s very difficult for parents to say “no.” A lot easier to just give the kids the bag of chips or raisinets. But our responsibility as parents is a balance of yes and no and guiding our children into adulthood. Sure, you have to say no to so many things, you could feel that giving in to the snack thing is less important than some of the other “nos.” That’s true. But honestly, your children will not hate you because you said no to the daily junk. They may even thank you for it when they are old enough to understand.

My kids still tease me about the “healthy choice” stuff when they were kids. But I see what they give their children for snacks. It’s not the chips and cheese doodles.