In the News: Should Bake Sales Be Banned?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
That most delicious of all fundraisers, the bake sale, might be doomed for extinction. Stringent nutrition standards at some schools have outlawed the flavorsome fundraisers.

Valid arguments can be made for or against this decision.
Americans, like so many other cultures, use food as a key part of most social rituals. Friends come over to watch the game: we order a pizza. Host a play date: we prepare snacks for kids. Valentine's Day at the office: we bring in cupcakes or candy. Go to the movies: we chow down on popcorn and a large box of candy.

Regardless of the holiday or social event, we feel the need to eat as a means of celebration. When was the last time you went to a friend's house or a party and weren't offered at least something to nibble? Can you think of a holiday when classrooms and offices aren't filled with treats? How many times have you celebrated life's milestones with a fancy restaurant meal or a large family dinner?

You can buy food at almost any venue: the mall, a ball game, a movie theater, a gas station, even in the lobby of some big-box stores. Are we so far removed from our next meal that we need to stop on our way into or out of a Target for a hot dog and a Coke? Must we eat a bag of popcorn while cruising the aisles at Wal-Mart, lest we waste away from malnutrition?

We've reached our saturation point with food. Personally, I'd like to fewer venues selling food. With fewer temptations would come fewer slip-ups. If we return food to its rightful home--the kitchen, the dinner table, and the home--I'm sure we would all have far fewer issues with food and weight.
Ridding schools of bake sales takes away one more needless snack or meal. With childhood obesity rates climbing every year, we don't need to use food as a punishment or a reward.

But, it is just a bake sale. We can get rid of cupcakes and cookies for every birthday, hot dogs and candy at ball games, and even the soda machines in schools, but bake sales actually serve a purpose. They help schools raise much-needed funds. While no school is relying heavily on bake sale proceeds, it is an easy way to raise a small amount of money. I once had a bumper sticker on my car that read "It will be a great day when the schools have all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." Politics aside, schools are on the low end of the funding totem pole and need all the help they can get.

Ideally, kids can learn to bake or cook (skills that are lacking in many of today's youth), spend quality time with parents in the kitchen and do their part for the club or activity that will benefit from the sale.

Why outlaw bake sales? Why not limit them to once a month, thus reinforcing to children that treats are OK sometimes? Or why not require that the baked goods be low-fat or healthy in some way? Sure, you'd be hard-pressed to find a kid who'd pick a bran muffin over a brownie, but a slice of low-fat banana bread, a chocolate-zucchini muffin or a meringue would certainly appeal to even the pickiest child. Even chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes can be slimmed down.

School officials and organizers could use bake sales as a lesson in healthy eating. Baked goods and desserts can be healthy. A quick search of SparkRecipes turned up more than 200 desserts with fewer than 100 calories a serving. Surely, some of those also have fiber, protein and nutrients in them, too.

Bake sales: Allow them or outlaw them? What do you think?

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The OVERWHELMING consensus seems to be my eating habits should not be regulated by someone who decides what I need. Wow! Just imagine that I can make a decision for myself. A little sarcasm to make the point that my choices should be mine - as well as the responsibility! Don't ban my bake sales where I can buy just one brownie instead of baking a pan full and eating them all!
I think people should be responsible for themselves. The country is involved in a war and the government is worried about bake sales! I think they got bigger fish to fry and they should concentrate on that. I don't think making laws to make people be responsible is the answer. Report
I see nothing wrong with bake sales. Often it raises money for a good cause. And it is up to people to decide if they want to spend money/eat the food. Report
Banning bake sales is the biggest load of foolishness I have ever heard. Yet again, people are substituting laws for their own self-discipline. The problem is that schools have these bake sales without at the same time giving comprehensive and understandable nutritional classes to kids. Having fewer venues selling food because it would make it convenient for you to resist is ridiculous. I'd like to buy a brownie at my own discretion thank you very much.

That said, I do feel that the school lunches are a different issue. These are publicly provided food services that generally serve as student main source of nutrition and food for the day. Having pizza and fries on the menu every day with a little tiny side of canned, syrupy fruit is crippling our kids. In that environment, they are being kept from making the healthy choices that they could make if they were ever educated about them anyway. The array of snacks available is absolutely unbelievable too. I used to have chips and cookies and a juice or soda and possibly ice cream several times a week when I was in school. A special cookie day or something is different, but as daily fare = unconscionable! Report
Bake sales have slowing gone the way out at my kids school and church. We do have a bake sale table at the yearly church fair where I pick up three pieces of the world's best peanut butter fudge. I have a choice, to bake and bring and buy. It's my choice. But if I never see another bake sale table, it will NOT be the end of America or freedom or life as I know it. Want something to share with your family, bake it yourself. Teach your child choices while you shop and cook and please don't get so insulted because the First Lady and other people have floated the idea of reconsidering some of the food traditions in place now. Report
I thing bake sales should be allowed. Report
Insisting that baked goods be low-fat is counterproductive, unless that fat is hydrogenated, as it often is. After all, how many recipes for baked goods call for shortening? And what are the odds that a mom will use healthier butter or coconut oil in place of cheaper Crisco in something that their PTA has demanded that they give away? But then, there's still the flour in the baked goods. I can stay slim as long as I avoid grains and sugar. But as soon as I add them, I pack on the pounds. And grains and sugar are the basis of baked goods. Report
I think it would be nice if Bake Sales WERE still allowed! Here in California (Los Angeles area), our schools haven't allowed homemade food to be shared for many years. That not only means no bake sales, it means no bringing cupcakes in to your kid's class for their birthday, or goodies for the holidays. With special permission, you can bring in an UNopened commercially-bought food for a special occasion, but that's it. It's gotta be over ten years - we were told the issue was fears of food-tampering. Report
Banning or stopping bake sales will hurt the schools funding more than anything. They do serve a much needed purpose and help subsidize the funding in the schools.

As parents we bake the goods that will be sold. Being members of SparkPeople we have learned healthier ways of baking/preparing foods. We can still have the bake sales but use these healthier alternatives.

The baked goods are still delicious and are much healthier for the consumers. This way everyones needs are being met and the schools and children need not do without.

Just something to really consider prior to making rash decisions. Report
What are you, kidding me?! The PTA's bake sales and box top drives are the only reason my little brother's elementary school could afford computers! And the clubs and groups at my university use them all the time. Report
Oh puleeease! How will our children ever learn proper eating if we never give them all the alternatives? Will banning an occasional bake sale really make a difference in their weight? Studies already show that their lunches in the cafeteria are an awful combo of fat and other unhealthy items. Lets ban that! I don't know about any where else but there are not enough bake sales at our school district to make it problem. Report
Why does it need to be a sale of pastries? Recently our church held a fundraiser, and the items were casseroles, preferably those for about four servings -- these were a big hit with families and more senior folks who don't have time or the inclination to cook. Everyone benefited, and that sounds about right to me. Report
Oh give me a break, I think the school should worry more about all of the junk on their menus and the soda & snack vending machines everywhere.
Speaking about a LAW.... why don't the kids wear seatbelts on the school buses? Report
No, I don't think they should be banned. Nobody drags anyone to the sale and noone forces any one to eat it. It's up to our own will power whether to eat or not. Report
Wow, I'm so offended by the bumper sticker comment that I can't get past it. It's about time Americans realize that throwing money into the educational system isn't going to fix it. There are hundreds of Catholic and small private schools around the country giving excellent educations to children for 1/4 to 1/3 of what is spent on public school kids.

As for bake sales, personally, I'm tired of the government trying to protect us from ourselves. Report
Banning bake sales. Nahhhh. Reason? There will be a resurgence of this and many other creative and traditional ways to keep our schools going. When all else fails, come together as a neighborhood and community and know for sure what you do to raise money is also yours to spend. It works well that way.

As for bake sales aiding and abetting in obesity....come on now that is, on its merits idiotic. Most home prepared items are better for you anyway. Besides, this won't be happening daily or even weekly. It costs money and time to prepare things for a bake sale and money for many is scarce.

I am all for the bake sale, the school carnival with the cake walk, whatever to have a bit of fun out of the stressful time and do something productive. Good way to expend some energy in a productive way!!! Report
Honestly, I can't remember the last time I participated in or even seen a bake sale. I don't think they need to ban them. Seems to be disappearing all on it's own. Report
There's nothing that excludes bake sales from having healthier alternatives too. Just like everything else choosing the right things are a personal responsibility. Maybe that means having a selection of less sinful snacks as well (popcorn, fruit tarts, veggie cups, rice krispy treats, fresh baked pretzels or rolls, nutritious muffins, etc).

If they're really concerned with bake sales because it contributes to unhealthy eating then why haven't they banned soda/vending machines and cafeteria meals such as pizza/chicken nuggets/nachos, and all the other nasty food they serve. Report
As a college sophomore who is a part of a starting group trying to raise money, we are thinking about a bake sale. But honestly, we don't see many bake sales on campus even with the 25,000 students we have. And in High school bake sales really weren't too common anyway - so limiting them is unnecessary and potential only going to hurt the students who are trying to raise money. With limitations to bake sales, students will have to jump through some unnecessary hoops. Instead, think about how valuable it is for a student to even be involved in a club/sport during school but with that is the need for funding.
Are we going to limit lemonade stands and the girl scouts too? They call this the slippery slope.

We should be more concerned with the fast food chains that are often located right next to schools with their cheap prices that makes it easily available for young adults to indulge in terrible food around the year - rather than the occasional bake sale by students who TRULY need the money for a good cause.

But really, you are only in control of you and parents have the most responsibility of teaching their kids whats right and wrong - even when it comes to food. Report
I don't think bake sales should be banned. I think teaching the children moderation at a young age is the way to go. Also, teaching them and ourselves how to make it healthier. Life is to be enjoyed! Report
Banning bake sales is ridiculous! And, like Daily_Storm said, it smaks of big brother. People in this country keeps trying to ban all sorts of things but we still are the most obese people in the world. That said, people have to make their own decisions about what to buy and put into their mouths. But to ban bake sales at churches or schools is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in a long while. Report
I've got an idea! How about schools stop serving fries & pizza for lunch? I taught for four years & then schools serve horribly unhealthy lunches. Let's work on that before we worry about bake sales!
Oh my goodness - No! We need to learn to eat right and not blame other situations! And besides - I get a lot of my holiday baked goods at the school bake sale! I have a delicious looking sock it to me cake I bought this week - and it goes to church Sunday for a dinner we are having! Report
My schools never had bake sales and I think that is a shame. I agree that kids should be taught to eat healthy and that an occasional treat is ok while anytime available or any amount available is not. I love to look at abake sales in front of grocery stores where I have seen healthy treats sometimes and sometimes food labled with ingredients. I like the chance (but not necessity) to buy goodies and be able to pick what I want. Keep school bake sales! Oops, too late! Well, keep other bake sales and let people choose! Report
Bake sales are the least of the problems. So kids buy a cupcake at school, maybe once a month. And they eat pizza every day at school for lunch, their parents serve them take out for dinner 3 or 4 nights a week, and then they gorge themselves on candy every ten minutes. Those are the real issues! At least bake sales have some positives, like the money raising aspect. Report
How scary that in the United States of America we would seek to "ban" any kind of free enterprise. It is called the law of supply and demand, folks. Nobody forces anybody to buy anything. Merchants offer products that sell. If people only bought items that were healthy (whole grain and lower sugar, for example) then that is what would be offered for sale. Then candy and soda companies would be out of business unless they came up with some better alternatives.

In our country we have the freedom to eat what we want and we also have the responsiblity to live with the consequences. That is the American way. Report
Eliminating Bake Sales from our schools isn't going to eliminate or "trim down" obesity. Bake Sales aren't the problem, the problem starts at home.
What are they eating for Breakfast and Dinner, those 2 meals can be controlled (lunch is tricker - kids can trade their lunches - so don't always have control). What example are the parents setting. It's so sad that the wrong thing is being targeted! Report
This is insane, IMHO. Around here, schools and related activity groups send kids out door-to-door selling candy bars, pizzas, cookie dough, pastries, you name it. You hardly ever see a bake sale around here anymore. IDK how it's done elsewhere, but the way a bake sale works here is that the moms and sometimes grandmoms (with the kids help) bake up lovely pies, breads, cupcakes and cookies and display them on a table at the front of a grocery store. Mom might allow the kids to buy back one goodie each, but the children are not the customer base for the bake sale.

I would much rather see that than feel obligated to buy a 50 cent candy bar for $1.00 from every kid in my neighborhood. Let's see...what would be a worse choice: 25 candy bars or a nice loaf of zuchinni bread and a homemade pumpkin pie?

I think the reason that we don't see as many bake sales here as we used to is because it's a lot easier on the parents to send the kids out selling candy and other junk than it is to take the effort to bake something nice or to spend an hour or two manning the bake sale table.

Or, I suppose it could be liability concerns - like in case somebody with a peanut allergy buys peanut butter cookies and has a severe reaction or something.

IDK, I just think that the bake sale is a grand tradition and forbidding them in the name of healthy living is a travesty. I think the people who think this stuff up should have bigger problems to worry gun violence in schools. I'm all for prohibiting junk food in the school cafeterias, but banning bake sales is ridiculous. Report
Our school has 2 major bake sales each year. They are major money makers--the school does suggest we label them as to what is in the recipe--which is a good idea to me as our neighbor's son can't have peanut or nut products. Everyone supports them--the kids man the tables , taking change, bagging things up, ect. It's a good learning tool and everyone has fun. Report
The year after I graduated from HS they banned all junk food in the cafeteria and in the vending machines. It's ridiculous, the only people banning these things are the parents who are afraid that there children getting fat. If anything, we should be fighting for education on how to be healthy!! Taking away the snacks isn't going to help, people will just find snacks else where. Report
This is a little over the top. I have heard of bake sales being questioned over the fear of unsanitary preparation, but not over obesity. Personal responsibility is becoming a scarce commodity in our country and children will not learn it by having things restricted. Report
You know, as a teacher, I think bake sales serve tons of purposes....

First, if kiddos make the treat...we teach them math and science as well as social skills and health. It also teaches children to work for something--producing a product for money in this case.

Secondly, some teachers use this as a learning lesson for the bank. I know teachers that take a "loan" from the bank to secure the ingredients for the bake sale. Children have to bring something important to them as collateral for the loan. Then, when the children hold the bake sale, they earn back the money (plus interest) to pay off the loan.

Third, with bake sales come other ideas such as craft fairs or "favor" exchanges.

Last...I LOVE to bake but do know I don't need all of the extra calories. Others out there don't love to bake as much as I do...but love to buy the treats so they can serve them at a special dinner, for holidays, etc. I am allowed to use my talents AND help my students at the same time. What a blessing! Report
I think it's insane the amount of fundraisers our school has to have in order to have "extras" like musicians visit and other creative items, along with "extras" like buying books for classrooms and the library. Why in the world do my tax dollars (which where I live are very high specifically for schools) not cover the cost of the education? We need to remove the unhealthy foods from the school. It's unreal what my kid's school thinks is healthy. They encourage "mini-muffins" as healthy snacks. What could possibly be the alternative? Chocolate bars? Muffins are just cupcakes without frosting.

There must be things to sell that are good for us and tasty too. Why aren't there ever fruit and whole grain bread sales? It's nearly impossible to encourage my child to eat healthy when the school serves ice cream and bagels with cream cheese as lunch options.

bake sales have always been apart of every comunity event I've atteneded. The booth always brings in a lot of extra cash. We make nutritional as well as regular goods. Have sugar and fat free too. What you choose to buy is up to you. Report
Ban bake sales? Who thought up that absurd idea? The same people who want to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegience? Just because it's there, doesn't mean you have to buy and eat it. If you want to support the sale, buy some cookies and hand them out to the nearest kids. Or drop them off at a senior center. Like Brian36 says, next we'll be closing grocery bakeries, neighborhood bakeries, and even the donut shops... Report
My mom and I always contributed to bake sales and cake walks. It was one of the best bonding experiences -- being in the kitchen with her. But we had sense enough not to overeat or stuff our faces full of junk. There;s nothing wrong with dessert - in MODERATION. People need to learn to make smart choices and LEARN how to eat, play, work -- everything -- in moderation. THAT's what's wrong with us, I think. Not the fact that we have bake sales.

As for the schools that only allow storebought items? That's ridiculous. Store bought doesn't mean healthy!! We took sack lunches to school every day and I didn't get fat until I was an adult. Report
I agree with the fact that bake sales are a great way not only to earn a little money (which in itself is a good way to learn about $$$); but, it is also a good way to learn other skills like baking/cooking, healthy substitution, moderation. This would benefit children as well as adults who need these skills.

Time to teach our children to take responisbility for themselves and their eating habbits - Treats are good, once in awhile & if you make them healthy plus yummy, that is just a FANTABULOUS bonus !!!! Report
When are people going to start taking responsibility for their actions??!! Why is it everyone elses responsibility to think for others? If you can't eat something due to allergies, being over weight, diabeties, then don't eat it! Teach your children they should not or can not eat it. You need to provide your child with the knowledge to make good choices with food and other things in life. It seems like the people that take responsibility and do the right things are always getting penalized because others cant or won't take responsibility for themselves!! Report
The school districts in Seatte area and burbs aren't allowed to hold bake sales - in fact any treats brought into the schools have to be store bought have to be unopened with the ingredent label attached. Report
Where will it stop? What else can we outlaw? McDonalds maybe? Report
I feel that bake sales are a great time to teach kids all the things that you said and more. Teach them portion control by having the snacks bagged in single serving sizes. Teach the students that a bake sale is to raise money for something, and that if you don't like what is offered you can still donate to the cause.
My local elementary school raises money in 2nd grade to Adopt a Wolf Project. The whole second grade adopts one wolf a year. (This project educationally goes towards cooperation, money skills, measuring, counting, portioning etc.)
If bake sales need to be outlawed so kids don't get fat. So should, candy and snacks everywhere. But I think that parents are putting too much responsibility on the school to provide only the best nutrition. The resposibility is the parents and they should be the ones to say that you may only have one snack a day and if you buy it at the bake sale then nothing later. Report
There are many healthy versions of the fat,sugar laden foods sold at the bake sales that could actually make them an opportunity for introducing great stuff to our kids and families. The new recipes should be given out with the baked goods so that parents can duplicate them at home. Report
I agree with ACALAVADHU. And if I were a contributor to a bake sale, I would make my contribution a healthy one. There are so many great recipes that offer a touch of indulgence and are still healthy. And if I were a potential buyer at a bake sale, if I didn't see anything I truly wanted to indulge in, I would offer a cash contribution anyway. Report
I love bake's the one chance that you actually get home baked goods. How many times have you gone to an outing and it's been store bought goodies. YUCK! I love all those home baked treats and the good thing about a bake sale is that you can pick and choose. You don't have to make a whole batch of ch. chip cookies just for yourself. You can buy cookies in singles, 1/2 doz or a full dozen. Report
People shouldn't be trying to demonize food, rather just trying to teach the importance of balance in one's diet to others.

I think it's a sad kind of funny that people are worried about outlawing bakesales instead of manufactured cigarettes. Report
This whole thing is insane. If you ban a bake sale, why don't we just ban Thanksgiving because the whole thing is centered around the meal. And the poor bird. We gather together to EAT THE BIRD. And I think we should ban birthdays because we get together to EAT THE CAKE. OH MY GOD, THE SUGAR, FAT LADEN CAKE WITH NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. What has this country come to that the little things in life that make it worth living become outlawed. Here comes big brother. Report
How ridiculous!! I can understand that a lot of people are overweight, but bake sales are a fundamental way that charities and non-profit groups (like PTA, churches, sports parents) raise money. And most of these treats are homemade and taste much better than the mass-produced sweets, such as pop-tarts, those disgusting pastries in most convience stores, etc.
Why not cut the crap out of every corner (McDonald's, etc) before we start attacking bake sales?? Report
What a bunch of hooey !! As if the government doesn't have bigger and better things to worry about... I personally have been a co-organizer of an annual bake sale event supported by employees of our community credit union and designed to raise funds for 4 local food banks, for the past 15 years! Our employer matched each dollar raised and every year those 4 food banks would send a handwritten note of appreciation and sincere thanks for $ they each received each year! It has been a very successful community service venture.... let's hope our government hears the outcry of us all and doesn't take away this national tradition! Report
Leave the bake sales alone! Get parents to get up and get their kids out from in front of the tv and video games! It is not a bake sale making people heavy, it certianly was not in my case. Maybe we should look at banning high fructose corn syrup, I don't think you will find it in home made goodies.
What is next? Report
Oh for crying out loud, talk about a stupid idea. Yes, once again we have the government trying to save us from ourselves. Give me a break. The reason there is a weight problem is that we keep letting the government think for us. People don't want to think for themselves or take responsibility for their own actions. Baking with your child is can be a fantastic learning and bonding opportunity. Why not just encourage kids to make healthy treats?
The one concern that MUST be addressed with bake sales is the issue of allergens. With the rise of nut and other allergies, we must be diligent in the preparation of snacks and treats. That I wholeheartedly support. Report
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