Goodbye goodies…adios $$$.
At Chapman School in Nebraska, resourceful students hawk pizza and cookie dough to raise money for school supplies, field trips and an eighth-grade excursion to Washington. They peddle chocolate bars to help fund the yearbook.
But the sales won’t be so sweet starting this fall. Campus bake sales—a mainstay of school fundraisers—are going on a diet. A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars.
Don’t pack your bags — or even your backpacks — yet, kids. Unless, of course, you’ve got some magic way to get your classmates pumped up to spend their precious allowances and birthday cash on fruit cups and granola bars. I’ll be over here, waiting, and not holding my breath.
The restrictions that took effect in July stem from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” campaign. The law overhauled nutrition standards affecting more than 30 million children. Among the changes: fatty french fries were out, while baked sweet potato fries were deemed to be fine.
The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. It allowed for “infrequent” fundraisers, and states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn’t meet nutrition standards.
Without state-approved exemptions, any treats sold would have to meet calorie, sodium, fat and other requirements. The law permits states to fine schools that don’t comply.
I’m no cheerleader for any of the food the law banned — from french fries to cupcakes. I also believe the kids, with input from their parents, should be able to choose what they eat for lunch, snacks, and in support of school programs.
But never forget that those tasked with deciding what is and is not “allowed” in schools are the same ones who brought us the Food Pyramid and now MyPlate. And sugar will make you fat. But not just the granular white stuff — ANYTHING that turns into glucose once it hits your system — in other words, anything that’s high in carbs.
So, looking at the carbs in the foods in question, what magic will these government-mandated changes bring to schools across America?
Not much — and while the cupcake will provide the largest blood sugar spike, the new & approved granola bars come in an easy second. So much for looking out for our kids.