Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gummy Bears For SnacK? The very thought..

At least this did not happen at Izzy's school. I know I used to lament the snack situation there but lately, for the most part, I think many parents have been putting more thought and effort into the snacks they provide (even if it means substituting multi-grain goldfish for the ordinary variety which makes me chuckle but I realize they have to start somewhere).

The snacks Izzy is served sound like health food compared to what is served in one class at another Hoboken/JC private school. A recent morning snack menu featured GUMMY BEARS. Who really wants their child to eat a sticky, sugary candy, in the morning and have that coating their teeth all day? Do educated parents really consider candy a snack? If so why? Are they caving to T.V. culture and preschooler whims? Perhaps they themselves consume candy all day.

I am not 100% anti-sweets but there is a time and place for them and school snack is most definitely neither the time nor the place.


Anonymous said...

I guess I see your point about the gummy bears but I'm finding it hard to get any dander up about it.

The goldfish, though, I just don't see. I mean, they're cute, they're cheap, they're "multigrain." What is so bad about them? They show up again and again here as the enemy and I'm just not seeing the problem.

My husband and I both work fulll time. I have two kids. I am a good cook and I try to do local, organic, healthy as much as possible, but jaunts to the farmer's market don't fit into my work/family life and Whole Paycheck, while lovely, only occasionally fits the budget.

I am really curious about the problem you have with goldfish...

Anonymous said...

Well as the mom of the child that was fed said gummy bears I certainly have plenty of dander about it. I do not appreciate anyone feeding my child something I would never feed her or ever consider giving to someone else's child. The school has a clear policy regarding snacks that prohibits any candy and promotes healthy foods. I simply can not, even with the aid of a very wild imagination, declare gummy bears to be of any nutritional value.
As a single mom already paying way too much tuition for my child to attend school, I certainly do not appreciate the gummy bear serving family increasing my child's risk of cavities and leaving me stuck with the bill for it.

As for the goldfish, I also beleive them to be hideous and void of any nutritional value or palette pleasing qualities. I do hear you on the time and money crunch. You see as a single mom who stays home to take my child (after actually making breakfast in lieu of serving cereal) to school for three hours to then pick her up and entertain her, nurture her and also feed her a snack, lunch and dinner all before her bedtime and the time that I am off to work while she sleeps, I do get the time and money thing.

I choose to drive an old car so that I can when making the grocery rounds pick the organic and or locally grown whole foods and not the packaged over processed stuff. My standard is simply to feed her body and soul with food that has nutritional value. And so while perhaps goldfish are not the worst possible food I can give her, they certainly do not offer any nutritive qualities that I can justify.

I can jsut as easily pick up some olives, peeled baby carrots, cornishons, cherry or grape tomatoes, organic canned beans (that get completely rinsed out to make the perfect finger food), frozen organic berries, or any other fruit that is safely grown and on sale that week for the same cost and time consumption and feel better about what I feed my little and about the lessons I am teaching her about respecting herself enough to make careful choices about what goes into her body.

I for one love the jaunts to teh farmer's market. I alwasy spend less than at the prepacakged food isle of the local supermarkets and make aday of it with my little one at the playground while she joyously chomp away at a tomato she jsut picked for herself at one of the farmer's stands. I see it as getting three for the price of one. I get healthy, safely and locally grown food that will nourish us both, she learns about the wonderful bounty mother anture has bestowed upon us and we get a great playdate at the sand box steps away from the farm stands.

Izzy's Mama said...

Anonymous: It is wonderful to hear that you try to feed your family local, organic foods. As consumers become more aware of their choices, it is becoming a little bit easier to do so. Given your interest in providing healthful foods for your family, it surprises me that you consider goldfish to be such an innocuous snack. I harp on them not because they are necessarily the most evil snack around but because they embody what is wrong with ordinary snacks in general. Sure. They are cheap. They are cute. But is that the basis upon which you choose snacks or your dates for that matter?

What about nutritional value? The fact is, they have very little nutritional value, "Whole Grain" or otherwise. The Whole Grain label is a marketing ploy, to appeal and placate consumers seeking healthier snacks. Many consumers are duped by that label and automatically assume they are serving a fine snack to their children (and of course children WANT them because they are so cute, and so salty etc.). Yes they may be better than the orignial recipe but not exactly "healthy."

I understand that not everyone has the time, energy or inclination to devote to food that I do, yet it is possible to find wholesome healthy, EASY, snacks without going to Whole Foods. If you are in Jersey City, Shoprite has an entire aisle of organic options, plus an organic produce section. Why not provide fruits, cheese and minimally processed organic crackers. Or baby carrots and other sliced veggies with dip. There are many other simple options that are neither costly nor time consuming.

I hope I satisfied your curiousity and I rant to get people aware of what and how they are feeding their children.

R.: You know I agree but you must take into consideration that not everyone shares our keen interest in food and shopping.

Anonymous said...

seriously, lighten up a little bit. the parents that way overprotect their kids are doing them NO GOOD. your intent is amazing, but jeez louise, let children be children. i would bet that you weren't raised on all organic, arrogant food. just sayin'

Anonymous said...

When I hear about the earthquake victims in China eating instant noodles for what will probably turn out to be weeks maybe months, when I remember a dear friend who grew up in poverty - with Spam as her main form of protein - who ended up an Oxford Phd. in economics and who writes for the NYT, and when I meet children who are delightful, intelligent small persons, who eat whole grain goldfish several times a week, I have to stop and wonder why I still read this blog...I have to, the thrill of the horror of it all is too great, god forgive me!

Izzy's Mama said...

anonymous 2: Overprotectiveness and nurturing healthy eat habits are two different things. Do children need to eat gummy bears to be children? Why encourage that in a school setting?

As far as how I was raised, no it wasn't organic (that wasn't a label back then) and it wasn't nearly as wholesome unless my grandma made it. But isn't it a worthwhile pursuit to do better for one's children?

Oh and by the way, I wasn't put in a carseat either as they were non-existent.

Live and learn.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what happened to my comment to annonymous regarding children, gummy bears and childhood but here it is again.

I am not exactly sure what eating gummy bears and goldfish has to do with childhood, but perhaps you can enlighten me further on this.

Did you know that there are millions of children around the world that never put a gummy bear or goldfish in their mouths and still manage to have a wonderful, joyous, loving childhood? Well, I was one of those children. I grew up in Cuba and while we did not use an organic label (there was no need) our food was not riddled with pesticides, chemicals or genetic engineering. I never had a soda touch my lips (I know, I know GASP. How could I have actually survived my childhood).

Junkfood was no where to be found. Instead I have vivid memories of running out of my home with my grandmother after our version of the "traveling farmer's market". These were men that would roll through our neighborhoods pulling on a wooden cart filled with countless different varieties of mangoes (unlike here where it is all limited to the two varieties available at the supermarkets), tamarind, guavas (as you Americans call it but which are actually guayabas), and on and on. Each cart would offer a different delicacy and would pass by on the same day of the week at the same time.

Our food was rationed by our government but I guess even Fidel Castro thought enough of us to provide us with whole foods. There wasn't excess every where you turned to. I guess this made us all greatful for what we had.

Packaged processed sliced bread that lasts for weeks. How do they do that I remember was my response to our first trip to a supermarket. I had never heard of such a thing. How could we not go to the bakery every morning to get our bread (even if it meant stading on a line for 45 minutes).

Oh yes, now that I think back we did in fact have junk food. There was the lady around the corner and upstairs from our roof top who made the nickel priced pulp of tamarind with just enough brown sugar to bind it together for us and three blocks further up there was Mercedes, the woman who had lost her leg, who made simply the most delicious oven toasted meringues that I have ever had.

Did I mention that there were only two television stations and that not every household had one TV set let alone one in each room. TV watching did not even come up until I turned around six or seven years old (my family used to actually interact with me. I know, I know again gasp). TV watching was on the weekends (when the cartoons were on. We never even thought it was neessary for kids to be in front of a TV before going off to school). How can we have been so terribly backwards and wrong about these things? TV was an hour in the morning on the weekends where I got so see guess what? American cartoons, Tom and Jerry, some black bird character (that I think was supposed to be a Crow) and some really lame show about an American Indian little boy.

Boy, how I suffered through those terrible years. Well with all the having to play with my neighborhood friends and then there was going accross the street to my best friend, Teresita's, house to pick fresh eggs from her grandmother's hens (no, we didn't live out in the country. We were smack in the middle of the city. We just all loved being able to get fresh eggs at whatever time of day we wanted them without having to go to our local bodega).

Then there were the almost weekly beach trips with my mom, who worked fulltime while my grandmother took care of me and cooked wholesome food for every meal I was fed. I vividly remember making our boiled eggs and homemade dulce de leche to take alogn with us. I just don't know how I survived such an oppressive childhood. Truth be told those days at the beach with my mom eating boiled egss and dulce de leche were some of the happiest days I have ever had in my life and to think it was all accomplished with nay a goldfish or gummy bear touching my lips.

Think of all the money I could have saved in therapy had I only been enlgihtened by you earlier on the root of all my troubles: a childhood lived without gummy bears and goldfish.