The Edmonds, WA school district has updated their wellness policy to ban birthday cakes/cupcakes and “all edible treats” from classrooms. Instead, their Wellness Committee recommends giving children “non food treats” like pencils to promote “healthy eating and food safety” in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. According to DJ Jakala, spokeswoman for the Edmonds School District: “We’re not just talking about one cupcake a year, we’re talking about 25 cupcakes a year”.
Oh for Pete’s sake! That’s taking the “Let’s Move!” initiative a tad too far. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act sets nutrition standards for school lunch programs so children have access to more wholesome foods. The Edmonds district is admirable in that respect. Their current lunch menu provides whole grains as well as a fresh fruit and vegetable bar plus students have daily gym classes and recess.
Then why ruin their birthdays? Assuming Edmonds’ school year is 180 days, that’s less than one cupcake or slice of cake per week. Provided that care is taken for those with food allergies, what harm could it possibly do? For some children, it’s probably the only party they get to enjoy with their friends and classmates. Not to mention that it sets up a “good food/bad food” mentality which may lead to disordered eating. Kids shouldn’t be obsessing over calories.
Granted, it will save parents last minute trips to the supermarket and late nights drowsily decorating dozens of cupcakes. However, I doubt they would prefer handing out pencils to doling out yummy treats to a classroom of smiling youngsters.
So c’mon Edmonds school district… let your students eat cake!