Thursday, September 21, 2006

Healthy Living, Learning and FUN?!?

I volunteered to be a Room Parent for Grace's class this year. Don't ask me why. As if I don't have a bijillion other things on my plate right now, I thought being her Room Parent would be the-good-mother-thing to do. We had our first meeting this evening to discuss the new wellness rules and start planning the all-school Halloween party and the individual first grade party. This meeting should have been called "The Scuttlebutt of Bellyachers Association." From the time arrived, it was nothing but constant griping about how the parties could not longer consist soley of pizza, soda, cookies and candy. This year, all schools were required to submit and maintain a wellness plan focusing on limiting junk food and increasing physical activity. The school principal has requested that these new rules be implemented during school parties as well as on a daily basis throughout the school year. Mainly, we are trying to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy eating. You know, educating the children on health and nutrition. In the school. How revolutionary!

I have never been a huge fan of junk food and/or fast food. It doesn't mean that I don't indulge every once in awhile. But I do pay close attention to the kinds of food I eat. Since I do the grocery shopping, I also refrain from purchasing foods high in fat, sugar and calories. We stick to the basics and I attempt to complete the majority of my shopping along the perimeter of the store. I'm not about to pretend that my children have never had soda or chips or cookies or candy or pizza, but they don't eat it on a regular basis. On special occasions, they are allowed to partake in junk food. They love it when they get it. Most likely because it is something special to them.

I was appauled by the animosity the other Room Parents had toward restricting the food choices at the class parties. One mother even said that the kids WOULD NOT eat ANYTHING but pizza and soda. I totally called B.S. on that one. Especially on the first grade level. If you introduce the kids to healthier options early on (like first grade), they will develop healthier eating patterns. Thus, reducing the outragous amount of overweight children in America.

The real problem these other moms have with the new wellness plan doesn't have anything to do with the actual plan. It's the fact that they are going to have to come up with some new ideas for these parties. The foods and activities they have provided for the children for the past several years aren't going to fly anymore. Godforbid they have to get CREATIVE!

But, that's the main reason I became a Room Parent. I love coming up with new ideas for the children to learn, be healthy and have FUN all at the same time. I've found some great websites with recipes, games, crafts and much, much more. Let me know if you have any ideas as well.