Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Banned Bake Sales

I'm sitting here watching the CBS Evening News—I like to call it Katie's news—before heading to the Y for my evening workout and yoga class. Partly I'm just passing time. Yoga doesn't start till 7:15 and leaving here at 6:00 allows plenty of time to work out beforehand. And heaven forbid I use that extra time at home doing something useful, like cleaning! (Or paying bills—which reminds me, I need to do that!)

But in the teaser segment at the beginning, Katie mentioned a piece that they will be airing which intrigues me. The story is about schools outlawing bake sales, in the wake of the childhood "obesity crisis." This is probably related to the California nutrition standards, which prohibit schools from selling snacks containing more than a certain level of sugar and fat. Specifically, snacks sold during the school day may contain no more than 35% sugar by weight and derive no more than 35% of calories from fat. I'm pretty sure that most traditional bake sale fare—cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.—would not possibly meet those standards.

Is this a bad or a good thing? Leaving aside the whole regulatory aspect of it all, which I'm certain that people have different views on regardless of the topics of the regulations, is it good or bad that bake sales have been eliminated to help prevent childhood obesity?

I'm totally in favor of schools not selling soda pop, candy, or unhealthy packaged snacks like chips. I remember, even in "my day," such junk food often was a substitute for decent lunches amongst my friends and acquaintances—okay, and maybe me as well. Or if not a substitute, a supplement, which may even be worse, at least as far as calorie consumption goes.

But outlawing the sale of homebaked goodies for special occasions and fundraisers? I'm not so sure. To me, there's a difference between a sugary Coke and a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Although, to be fair, they have about the same number of calories.

I'm sure there are a lot of other legitimate, healthier ways to raise funds for school activities (or charitable causes). But really, let's not turn to the sale of more wrapping paper. I have enough already.

I don't remember a lot of bake sales when I was in school. So it's not like I have some nostalgic memory to fall back on. But I wonder, are they really a major cause of childhood obesity? Is their elimination really going to solve the problem? (Or help with the problem?) Maybe... but only if parents and kids adopt a healthier lifestyle overall, including nourishing meals and exercise. And you know, if everyone did that, I bet we could survive a bake sale or two.


Laura said...

The other big difference for me is that bake sales don't happen every day - they simply provide treats every once in a while, and pretty much every diet (or at least, every reasonable diet) allows treats on occasion.

Kristin said...

I think you're right, and that's probably what I was trying to figure out myself, for a reason why bake sales might not be such a bad thing.