One Moms Mission for a Candy-free School Valentine

One Moms Mission For A Candy-free School Valentine

Thu 13 Feb 2014

Story by Stacy Whitman

Valentine’s Day is practically synonymous with pink hearts, red roses and—if you have school-age kids—backpacks stuffed with candy.

I’ve never attached sugary treats to the Valentines that my kids hand out at school. (And thankfully, they've never asked me to!). But where we live, most parents do. The sugar stash that came home with my oldest son (then in first grade) last February 14th —I’m talking M&Ms, Hershey’s Hugs, Cupid Corn, Tootsie Pops, Sweethearts, Skittles, Nerds and Smarties—was staggering. Think Halloween, only in February and with a pink and red theme.

What’s the big deal? It’s just a little candy!

Let’s say there are 25 kids in a class, and each one gives out a candy Valentine. That’s 25 pieces, boxes or bags of pure junk. As you can see below, it can add up to a lot of extra calories, saturated fat and sugar, not to mention artificial food dyes (linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems).

In addition to candy Valentines, some classes have a party with sweet treats like cupcakes, cookies and soda or juice, too. Suddenly, the day has become one enormous sugar binge—and I’m sorry, it doesn’t happen just once a year! There's also Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, 100th Day of School, junk food rewards, PTA events, bake sales and much more. (See: Rant of the Day: Please Stop Feeding My Kids Junk Food at School!).

Last week, my twins’ Kindergarten teacher sent home a not-so-subtle note to the parents asking for their help in keeping candy out of the classroom on Valentine’s Day. In bold caps, it read “NO CANDY!” (LOVE her!!!). But I don’t expect the same to happen in my second grader’s classroom. So I'm taking matters into my own hands. I've approached his teacher and our school principal with the idea of a candy-free Valentine's Day--and you can, too.

Take the 2014 Candy-free School Valentine Pledge!

Would you like to help keep Valentine’s candy out of school this year? Take the 2014 Candy-free School Valentine Pledge --and encourage other parents, your child’s teacher, your school principal and/or your PTA to join you!

Sample email to the school

I still get nervous about approaching parents, teachers and school administrators with the idea of cutting back on sugar. I like doing it by email so I don't catch them off guard. I always keep it positive and professional, and am careful not to criticize. You can use this sample email as a guide.

Please help spread the word!

Tell other parents, teachers and school administrators about the pledge and share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and anywhere else you can think of! Let's start a movement to get as many families, classrooms and schools on board as possible. Together, we can make our schools candy-free Valentine at a time!

About the Author: Stacy Whitman is the real-food lovin' mom behind the blog School Bites: One Mom's Crusade for Better Nourished Kids at School (and at Home!). Visit School Bites and join the School Bites community on Facebook and Twitter for more information about creating healthier schools and improving food choices for kids. And check out School Bites on Pinterest for fun and healthy food ideas for school parties and more!

Images: Taken of Valentine's candy and my healthy treats post from last year. Check out last year's Valentine's post here.

School Bites: One Mom's Crusade for Better Nourished Kids at School (and at Home!)
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