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Zen Mama Wannabe » Blog Archive » When Did it Become All About the Food?
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When Did it Become All About the Food?

“Max can eat fruit, just no strawberries or purple grapes as they don’t seem to agree with him.  Crackers and gold fish are fine but no popcorn as the kernels stick in his teeth and it becomes a whole thing.  Trust me.  Meat and cheese roll-ups are fine, just no turkey as I think it has too many chemicals for their little bodies.  And no juice please, as we don’t do juice after 2pm.”

I am listening to Max’s mom go on and on, having no clue why she is telling me all this.  Max isn’t moving in, he’s not coming to stay with us for the weekend – and then it dawns on me – she is telling me this for the upcoming playdate we have scheduled this week.  A regular playdate – something that lasts roughly 2 hours, give or take.  Seriously?  Am I going to have to take notes??

When did it become all about the food??  Kids today can’t together for a few hours without eating?  This is what we are teaching our children?  Get-togethers and playdates = food? 

A good friend and I had been discussing this a few months earlier — at the start of the Little League season, when the snack sign-up list got passed around.  Not only, she informed me, did they have to sign up to provide snacks for the games, but for the 1-hour practices as well.  She watched each week as some of the kids were more interested in the snack selection than learning the fundamentals of the game.  Do you find something wrong with this picture?

Was it this way when WE were kids?  I sure don’t think so, and neither does HotCrossBuns whose playtime growing up sounds an awful lot like mine.  What has happened between then and now – other than the rapidly increasing rate of obesity in kids? 

More importantly, what are we teaching our children – because WE are the ones that are creating this insanity obsession with food.  We are the ones insisting our kids have all these snacks at their extracurricular activities – and their playdates.  We are the ones sending forth the message that they can’t make it an hour or two without eating something and that water just is not enough to quench their thirst and re-hydrate them. 

Maybe it is one thing to focus this intently on snacks and food now – after all, most (but certainly not all) young kids are running around, burning off the extra fuel – but what happens when they become the slow-moving teens you hear so much about?  The population of teens that spends so much of their time slumped in front of a computer or video game.  They are hardly active yet have been conditioned (by us!) to eat throughout the day.  You don’t need a PhD in Nutrition to figure out what happens next. 

So what do I do about Max?  Have water and apple slices available if hunger strikes? Maybe, just maybe this Zen Mama Wannabe thinks, the playdate could be about FUN and not FOOD.  Not sure what Max’s mom would make of that – but it might be interesting to find out. 

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2 Responses to “When Did it Become All About the Food?”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    August 26th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I think your on to something Zenmamma! Why do all activities, no matter how short, include food? My daughters have a two hour play practice once a week and each family signs up to provide snack for 25 kids. No wonder our kids are obsessed about food….we taught them. And by the way, what did Max’s mom say? 🙂

  2. LarkLady Says:
    August 26th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Well, I suppose if the playdate was going to be right after school, a snack might be in order when they first got home. The instructions seem a bit obsessive unless Max has serious food allergies — but that didn’t seem to be the thrust of the comments.

    Food is a great way to bring people together, and so in a lot of social situations it seems natural, I guess, to offer food. But at a 1 hour Little League practice? Or a 2 hour play rehearsal? Sounds as though we’ve all gone more than a little overboard! What would happen if we just started saying No???

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