Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Future holiday parties may not be as sweet

December 20, 2006

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Fudge, candy canes, Christmas cookies and punch - they will probably find their way to many Lawrence elementary school holiday parties this week.

But a new emphasis on healthy food choices next year means students will have to trade out those visions of sugar plums for visions of carrot sticks and broccoli.

"We're not taking a hard line here until '07-'08," said Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent for Lawrence's public schools.

Passman said there won't be a ban this year on sugary foods and beverages that parents can bring in for school parties.

"What we're doing this year is primarily - and even much of next year - is just encouraging parents to think and plan differently for classroom parties and classroom rewards," Passman said.

It's not until the 2007-08 school year that food and beverages brought into schools must comply with the school board's new wellness policy, he said.

This year, school administrators are working with Parent-Teacher Organizations and school site councils to remind parents what kinds of food items and beverages are healthy.

To determine what snacks are healthy, schools will follow these nutrient standards for treats served at school:

¢ Foods with no more than four grams of fat per 100 calories, except nuts or seeds.

Cordley School kindergartner Hanan Gusau, left, licks the sweets off of her fingers as she and her classmate Olivia Percich patiently wait for their group leader and Lawrence High School senior Courtney Barber to finish decorating their marshmallow snowmen snacks with sprinkles. The trio worked Tuesday during the Boys and Girls Club of Cordley after-school program. This year will be the last for parents and students to bring sugary foods and beverages to the class parties as Lawrence public schools put an emphasis on healthier snacks.

Cordley School kindergartner Hanan Gusau, left, licks the sweets off of her fingers as she and her classmate Olivia Percich patiently wait for their group leader and Lawrence High School senior Courtney Barber to finish decorating their marshmallow snowmen snacks with sprinkles. The trio worked Tuesday during the Boys and Girls Club of Cordley after-school program. This year will be the last for parents and students to bring sugary foods and beverages to the class parties as Lawrence public schools put an emphasis on healthier snacks.

¢ Foods with no more than nine grams of sugar per 100 calories, except fruit without added sugar.

¢ Foods with no more than 200 calories per serving.

"Mainly it's just soft encouragement at this point to think differently and bring different foods and beverages to school," Passman said.

Many of the schools are planning parties for Thursday, the last day of school before winter break, he said. Brochures have been provided to parents to help them make healthy choices.

For example, here are a few alternatives:

¢ Fruits and vegetables: Slices of apples, oranges, cantaloupe; apples with caramel dip; celery and peanut butter; salsa and baked chips.

¢ Grains: Trail mix or cereal mixes, granola bars, bagels and cream cheese, animal crackers, pretzels or popcorn.

¢ Dairy: String cheese, yogurt cups, low-fat pudding cups, cheese quesadillas.

¢ Proteins: Nut assortments, pizza with low-fat toppings, sandwiches with ham, turkey, cheese and low-fat condiments.

"What we're doing is encouraging parents to make wise choices about what they bring," said Paulette Strong, principal at Quail Run School.

"We are not going to be the food police," Strong said. "But we certainly want to start moving toward making good choices and modeling that for kids."

Strong said this year is a transition year, so it will be up to parents and teachers what they want to do.

"We're talking about a huge cultural shift that needs to happen in our country," Strong said. "And this is not something we can do overnight. And it's not something that's black and white the first year. ... It's a gentle process."

Comments

Nikki May 8 years, 6 months ago

I didn't get a brochure. I'm sending cookies. Anyway, I hate this policy. I understand that sweets are bad. I also understand that anything in moderation is not the end of the world. It's not cookies and candy all day every day.

I still maintain that they need to target the school's food before they worry about once in awhile parties.

oldgranny 8 years, 6 months ago

Why don't we just take all the fun out of school. I've never heard of such a stupid thing. I suppose we are lucky they are allowed to have a Christmas party at all.

hottruckinmama 8 years, 6 months ago

at my kids school they ask for healthy snacks for the everyday snacks but on birthdays halloween christmas and valentines day you can send the good stuff. i think that is reasonable. after all the best way to make sure kids want sugary stuff is to deny it to them all the time.

trinity 8 years, 6 months ago

oh bloody hell, this is riDICulous! my god...like punkrockmom said, MODERATION people! please! jiminey christmas, i can't believe this. DON'T teach kids moderation and saving treats for "special", nooo; ban the stuff altogether&make it some kind of subterfuge to have a damn snickers in a school! agggghhh! i've heard it all, now.

oh and before i get blasted-i'm about healthy eating too, but DAMN...this just seems outrageous to me.

lacoov 8 years, 6 months ago

BTW they don't have Christmas parties at school it's a Winter Holiday Party. So here Johnny/Jill take your broccoli floret and live it up.

optimist 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm not at all opposed to limiting the availability of these types of foods on a daily basis. Reducing the regular consumption of these foods while at school will be beneficial to each child.

I will say however that exceptions should be made for special occasion parties. In fact I suggest the school has no authority to dictate to parents (their employers) what foods are acceptable for these events. If a parent doesn't wish their child to have them then they can certainly inform the school or better yet their child.

If this goes to the level of dictating what items I can pack in my child's lunch from home I can assure you I personally will take every action under the law to oppose it. I would encourage others to do the same.

The school has its responsibilities and one of them is to remember who they are accountable to. That includes the school board.

roadrunner 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree with PRM! Target the schools food first! Would it kill them to cut a few carbs out the daily menu? The fat content and calories per meal is outrageous. My kids started taking their lunch this year because I found out how much junk is in the school menu. Let parties be parties, and start baking a thing or two in the school lunch room instead of frying it in fat!!

prioress 8 years, 6 months ago

Yet another mountain being made out of a molehill. Sure food is part of the problem, but the other half is kids and their parents sitting on their fat butts AFTER school and never going outside or walking a mile or two.
BTW: I agree......take some alfalfa pellets to a party. With a bit of cheese dip or ranch dressing, they can be quite charming............

chocolateplease 8 years, 6 months ago

Christmas candy canes are hereby banned. Valentines day candy will be substituted with a bag'o nuts. No birthday cake!! Cookies are evil!

Pulleez! Have a reasonable focus: Fix the cafeteria food, and let the parties for special occassions be what they're intended to be.

Raymond Munoz 8 years, 6 months ago

They only have these types of parties a few times a year, so I say let the kids be kids and eat candies and cookies! As long as they brush afterwards!!!

justathought 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh Please....maybe if school lunches weren't 800-1200 calories PER DAY they could have a dang cookie! I don't eat that many calories in a freaking day!!

sample taken from school food website Calories 922 Cholesterol 55 Mg Sodium 2069 Mg Dietary Fiber 9.28 G Iron 6.50 Mg Calcium 491.44 Mg Vitamin A 8797 IU Vitamin C 33.79 Mg Protein 36.32 G 15.8% Carbohydrate 143.14 G 62.1% Total Fat 23.28 G 22.7% Saturated Fat 5.07 G 5.0%

J Good Good 8 years, 6 months ago

"holiday" parties they may be - after all a significant minority of my kid's friends are not Christian, but I wouldn't get all bent out of shape about it - they have a Christmas tree and are singing Christmas carols at school.

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 6 months ago

What a stupid thing!! i agree with pretty much everybody. Goodies on a special occasion aren't going to hurt. Lets worry about school lunch and let the kids have their goodies on special occasions. Friggin communists!!

imagold 8 years, 6 months ago

These folks need to have visits from three ghosts. Scrooge is alive and well in the Lawrence Public School District. Just forget the parties. They're sucking the fun right of them anyway. First Christmas is replaced with "holiday" or "winter" and now candy is replaced with carrots. Whee! I'm sure glad the education system wasn't so enlightened when I attended school.

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm really glad that my childrens school offers a salad alternative for lunch. My children usually go with the salad 3 or 4 times a week. Guess I've done something right in how we eat at home when they don't like the greasy food the school serves.

As far as sweets at the parties, they should be allowed. It's a party after all.

prioress 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mistygreen 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for nutrition in the cafeteria, and that is where they should focus. Stop penalizing the kids and the things they look forward too. Whether they celebrate any holiday or not, you cannot tell me that kids do not look forward to special occasions. Treats on an occasional basis can be a good thing. Start taking these away, and guess what? They will begin to feel denied and just develop a pattern of over indulgence later.

person184 8 years, 6 months ago

I know it all sounds outrageous. But schools are being asked to address the childhood obesity problem since kids spend so much time in school.

StirrrThePot 8 years, 6 months ago

"at my kids school they ask for healthy snacks for the everyday snacks but on birthdays halloween christmas and valentines day you can send the good stuff. i think that is reasonable. after all the best way to make sure kids want sugary stuff is to deny it to them all the time."


You speak the truth, hottruckinmomma.


"I'm really glad that my childrens school offers a salad alternative for lunch. My children usually go with the salad 3 or 4 times a week. Guess I've done something right in how we eat at home when they don't like the greasy food the school serves.

As far as sweets at the parties, they should be allowed. It's a party after all."


And you do as well, conservative. It starts at home. We rarely indulge in the junk. My kids would rather have an apple for a snack than a twinkie. But they are kids, and like all of us, enjoy a treat every now and then. By following the example above, the kiddos learn good habits--eat right and be healthy, but enjoy a treat on special occassions. Seems like good livin' to me.

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 6 months ago

I am the room mother for my kids' class this year, and when I was contacting parents about our party, I told them to bring whatever they wanted. We are not allowed to put up a Christmas tree in class, or do a gift exchange, but my child has to learn about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. I am all for learning other cultures, but what about ours as well. I also agree with change the food that the school serves, and not worry about the parties. I will be bringing sweets next year as well. What are they gonna do? Kick my kid out of 3rd grade, because her mom brought cookies....

SoundMind 8 years, 6 months ago

I can predict what this policy will do. The parents who volunteer to send food to the Halloween, Winter Holiday, and Valentine parties simply won't anymore. It will be too big of a hassle.

Besides, what kid wants a cauliflower floret at a Valentine's party?

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 6 months ago

FGS. Treats are just that, a treat, something you have for special occasions!

And cheese quesadillas are okay but cookies aren't? Without looking it up, I'd venture that an oatmeal raisin cookie has at least a little fiber and no more fat than a big lump of melted cheese.

Jamesaust 8 years, 6 months ago

I guess I'd be with the "moderation" crowd if we didn't have kids in the district already with type II diabetes.

The issue is not whether its okay to add some treats at a special school-sponsored holiday party but rather is it okay to add EVEN MORE treats to some kids' diets that seem to be based on nothing but a 365-day party plan already.

Jamesaust 8 years, 6 months ago

It is interesting to have finally identified the "everyone else's Mom" people.

I'd wondered just who this infamous person(s) was(were) that I keep hearing about (as in, "but everyone else's Mom let's them .....").

prioress 8 years, 6 months ago

But schools are being asked to address the childhood obesity problem since kids spend so much time in school.

True, but kids spend less than 10% of their first 18 years actually in a school building. The govt forced this down school's throats not because they care about fat kids, but because they are terrified of the future health insurance costs. In 2-3 years it's likely they will force high schools to end their "open" lunch hours.

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

True, e. coli could be lurking in the lettuce leafs. But I'd rather my kids take their chances with that than with the mystery meat. (tongue firmly in cheek)

lelly 8 years, 6 months ago

The real issue here is a school lunch program subsidized by the government. The gov't shoves high fat milk and cheese and meat from subsidized farmers to the schools. My son brought up a good point. "Why can't we have cookies but the school still serves us french toast sticks and syrup for lunch?" I would rather pay more for a school lunch and leave the mom's, dad's and kids their occasional cake.

Remeber, if you voted for a politician who supports farm subsidies (which line the pockets of factory farms, not family ones), you are partly responsible for the sorry state of the school lunch program.

J Good Good 8 years, 6 months ago

I think the point of teaching about Hannukah and Kwanzaa is that kids may have not been exposed to them, or had anyone explain what they are, even though some of their friends may celebrate them. Anyone not living under a rock in a remote Buddhist country has been completely drenched in Christmas. You can't escape it even if you don't celebrate it as a religious holiday.

And let the kids have a cookie.

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 6 months ago

jg: I agree, however I feel it is a little biased to teach other religious beliefs to my child, without asking permission. When, to talk about Christmas a note must go home authorizing the child to take part. What difference is there???

Tychoman 8 years, 6 months ago

Trinity they'll learn moderation in a few years, give them time. It's better that they're making an extreme move to health food than no move at all.

breeze 8 years, 6 months ago

From time to time, people in this comment group delight in slamming Texas and Texans. But the Texas state agency which oversees school nutrition programs was ahead of Kansas in this regard. They prohibited the sale of candy, cakes, carbonated soft drinks, etc. at elementary schools a few years ago and restricted such sales at secondary schools.

see this link for information: http://www.squaremeals.org/fn/render/channel/items/0,1249,2348_2353_0_0,00.html

Believe me, none of the children are suffering. They can go home and stuff their faces with whatever their parents choose to provide. Except for pork fritter sandwiches. Those are illegal everywhere in Texas (grin).

J Good Good 8 years, 6 months ago

that is strange! It could have come about because Christians have been known to throw in a little proselityzing and minority religions are pretty sensitve to that, but I think that it would only be fair to treat all religions the same.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

Nothing says celebrate the holidays like broccoli floret!! Look kids, it resembles a Christmas tree! (No, wait, you can't say that, either).
I feel for those poor grade school kids. Mine are in junior high and high school, but don't like the decision either.
And fruit juice sold has more sugar than pop.

hottruckinmama 8 years, 6 months ago

gosh dang agnostick i'm going to your kids school on party day!

voom 8 years, 6 months ago

Repeat after me FEDERAL MANDATE! Don't blame the school district or its staff, talk to the people in D.C. if you think the mission of schools should be to provide your kid with junk food on every "party" day and birthday in the classroom......meanwhile, let them continue their mission of TEACHING and LEARNING. You have the option of going somewhere else, your own home school comes to mind, where you are in charge of all foods served!!

Nikki May 8 years, 6 months ago

My daughter's class is learning about Christmas with the other holidays. However, I would like to point out that Kwanzaa isn't really a religious holiday.

justathought 8 years, 6 months ago

VOOM,

The schools don't provide the food for parties the parents do. Please get your facts straight before you come on here and make yourself look stupid.

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

Why shouldn't baking a cake and bringing it to school to celebrate the birth of your child be protected as an expression of free speech?

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

In fact, why shouldn't eating be considered an expression of free speech? You are what you eat, right? What right does the government have to declare that what you are is not acceptable, if you have not broken a law?

How dare the government restrict the rights of sugar, flour and fat eaters!

Sugar eaters, unite! Resist this governmental repression of people who like yummy food!

Is the consumption of sugar, flour and fat illegal?

NO!

Revolt!

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

I am waiting for Chancellor Hemenway to set aside taxpayer funds that would have otherwise been used to repair buildings to pay for tuition for sugar/fat/flour eating children who have been discriminated against by society.

budwhysir 8 years, 6 months ago

I was unaware we had a deputy superintendant. What role does this position play in our school district. Surely this postition does not deal exclusivly with what our kids can have at parties in the classroom.

Is the deputy superindtendent in charge of other things>>???

budwhysir 8 years, 6 months ago

This fits right in with the no child left behind program

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