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Psssst.  Want a snack? By Jennifer Davis

by bkhoury on September 08, 2011

Psssst.  Hey, kid.  Over here.  Want a snack?  Why does it seem that everywhere I go, someone is trying to feed my children?  And nine times out of ten it’s something that either contains cheese spelled with a “z,” glows in the dark, or boasts a sell by date that hovers close to when my six year old can legally drink his first beer.  I say, stop the insanity!
We are gearing up for soccer season at our house.  This means that every Saturday my kids are walking back to the car after their games with armloads of juice boxes, gummy snacks and goldfish.  Parents always thoughtfully purchase enough goodies for siblings as well, so my two get fed like this twice a day, sometimes early in the morning or right before dinner. 
With this constant barrage of snacks, what are we teaching our kids about tuning in to their own hunger cues?  I know that after I exercise, the only thing I truly crave is water and maybe a banana 20 minutes later.  A hankering for a sky-high turkey sandwich or a hefty bowl of ice cream doesn’t hit ‘till a few hours later.  It’s hard to abide by the common sense advice to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full when you’re bellying up to the junk food bar a few times a day, especially for a kid!
Don’t get me wrong—I think treats are great and a big part of childhood.  I shower sprinkles over ice cream, top mugs of hot chocolate with a handfuls mini marshmallows and hand out candy (not raisins or granola bars) with enthusiasm on Halloween.  But these are special treats, designed to be savored.  The constant barrage of sugary, processed snacks at preschool, playdates and soccer games have become so prevalent that kids come to expect it, and chow down everything they’re offered without being hungry or even tasting the treat.
So we’re taking a stand this year.  Saturday morning, our family is responsible for providing snacks for the first game of the soccer season.  We’re bringing water and fruit and are crossing our fingers that the kids won’t miss the junk and that parents will follow our lead when it’s their turn to bring snacks.  What do you think?  Am I flirting with danger here?  By denying after-game treats am I taking away the kids’ favorite part of soccer?  Post a comment and give me a reality check!

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