During Meghan’s first year of preschool, they served juice and some sort of processed food (such as crackers) for snack everyday. It bothered me because those were not things I gave her at home often, but I didn’t say anything since she was only there three mornings a week.
The next year she was going to be going five mornings a week, and I hated to think about her having juice and crackers so often. I gathered my courage and mentioned my concerns to the lead teacher. She said she didn’t think the kids would drink anything other than juice, but she was willing to try serving water. She was also open to different snack ideas.
She allowed me to volunteer as snack coordinator, and from then on the children were lucky enough to have fresh snacks, sent in from parent volunteers, every day. Crackers were replaced with fruits, vegetables, and sometimes things like homemade mini muffins or granola bars.
Several moms thanked me and told me that their kids were trying more foods than they ever had before and liking fresh foods more than they thought possible! The lead teacher said that the kids drank water without complaint and didn’t even ask for juice. All because I decided to speak up.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was learning to say no when my kids were bombarded with treats after every activity. One mom sent that blog article on to the owners of the swim school where Meghan and Luke take lessons. The owner called me and thanked me for writing the post and asked about alternatives to the artificially-colored suckers they handed out after every lesson. I suggested the organic brand Yum Earth. She called the company and was quoted a price that was feasible, so she emailed me to let me know they were making the switch! Yes, it’s still sugar, but hundreds of kids will not be ingesting as many artificial food dyes because of that switch. All because I wanted to start a conversation.
I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back. I’m writing it to encourage you. What changes do you want to see? What would happen if you decided to use your voice and speak up? If you are reading my blog, chances are you care about the health of the youth of today, whether you have kids or not. How can you use that passion to spark change? The more voices that are heard, the more change will happen. What will you do?