Kid Snacking: How Much Is Too Much?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I have a feeling that one day very soon, Iím going to become the complaining parent at my 3-year old's preschool. I've always been conscientious about her diet (I prefer that term over "strict" or "crazy") so I knew that I'd have a hard time sending her to school where she gets a snack that's not approved by me. I've tried to relax a little, looking at the bigger picture and telling myself that she's got to learn to make her own healthy choices at some point. She's only 3, so she's not really making those choices yet. But its good practice for the future, right?

She's only at school for 2 Ĺ hours, so she really doesn't need a snack. But I'm okay with it, even though I'm cringing internally when she tells me she had Cheese-Its and "dragon juice" for snack. I'm not entirely clear on what dragon juice is, but she always comes home with a blue mustache on the days when she's had it.

Preschool is notorious for having all kinds of parties- celebrating each holiday, each season, etc. And those parties always involve bringing in snacks and special treats for the kids. She never wants lunch after she comes home on those party days. After seeing all of the things parents bring in and how the kids are allowed to fill their plates with mounds of food, I can see why. She's also had regular days recently where she didn't want lunch because "I had lots of Goldfish today, mama!" she proudly tells me. It seems like her very short school day almost always revolves around food, and I guess that's where I start to get irritated.

According to a study from the Department of Health and Human Services, "Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day increased to 42 percent from 11 percent." Of the children surveyed, the number who said they had eaten three meals on the previous day went down, while those who had had a snack went up more than 40 percent.

Some of that increase is probably due to the fact that families are constantly on the go. Many don't have time to sit down together for dinner as they shuffle from one practice or event to another. So snacking has become a way to fit it all in when there's no time for meals. Unfortunately, a lot of those snacks come from vending machines (candy, soda, etc.) and end up being a poor substitute for a nutritious meal. But it also seems like snacking has taken over our culture. I don't typically go to a meeting or any event that doesn't have snacks. And if they don't, the first question (whether it's vocalized or not) is "Where's the food?"

Am I overreacting? Is this just something I need to get used to, especially where my children are concerned? Do you find that snacking is a bigger deal these days than it used to be? Why or why not?

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As a preschool teacher I would welcome your concerns about your child's snack. And yes, they do need a snack even in the short period of time your child is in school. We either provide snack for the children or parents bring in snack. It has to have a fruit/veggie, protein and carb. All fruit juices must be 100% fruit juice. We also encourage children to use table manners, they practice passing food around the table and pouring their drinks in their little cups. We also encourage taking just enough food (and if they are still hungry they can ask for more).

Children ARE LEARNING at snack time....much more than many people realize. Report
**rolling my eyes** I think you are overreacting, because I am sure you are very strict with her diet at home so let her have fun at school which she stays for a short time. Some of my happiest times at school were at break time where we had milk and cookies. Most of the kids were poor so they did not eat breakfasts so that is why we had these break times. The school was funded by the state so we had to have whatever they could afford. I did not have breakfasts at home, because we had to get up at 6 AM to leave home at 6.30 AM to drive me to school which took an hour and half depending on morning traffic. Report
I'm a preschool teacher.(3 year olds actualy) The lunchs that parents pack that encourage children to eat them, are healthy and build choice making skill are those that are made out of a series of snacks. Yogurt, goldfish, raisons, cheerios, juice, milk, blueberies, peanut butter crackers all part of the same lunch. The children what they want to eat and they learn to like healthy foods because they have the choice to eat them. Report
Pre-school in my local authority region (in Scotland), the requirement from the Local Authority registrators (is that a word?) and also the local education inspectorate is that healthy snacks should be made available for every 2 1/2 hour session. There should always be fruit or veg included in what is offered. With the 3- and 4-year-olds, the "menus" should be discussed. And some discussion should also take place with the 2-year-olds, obviously aimed to their level.
I understand that the Local Authority requires that snacks must be provided, to cater for those children who are sent out without having had a meal at home.
The centre I worked in - we eventually banned all fizzy drinks (soda, coke or whatever) from the children's "classrooms". That included snacks and packed lunches, and also the staff in the rooms. Milk for the children, or water or pure fruit juice. Very occasionally there would be an exception for a party, but parents were always given plenty of notice.
For sporting events, especially for younger children, anything over an hour they should have a couple of breaks for water and could perhaps be offered a couple of apple wedges or chunks of banana at one of those breaks. Same for older children for anything 2 hours or over.
Occasional sugary treats is surely not a huge issue, so long as it's kept occasional. I reckon that if the biscuits or cookies are completely banned, the children won't learn how to say "no" for themselves. Report
Jen, I'm right there with ya! This week I started my 3-year-old in preschool and was appaled by their "nutritious" snacks and lunch. I am also very picky with what my daughter eats, as she eats mostly a vegetarian and extremely healthy diet. The preschool's lunch menu consists of mini pizza, fish sticks, corn dog, bologna sandwich...seriously?! Oh, and juice with their snack...juice is a treat in our house. They do seem to have the sides right, carrot sicks, peas, peaches.

I'm trying not to freak out too much as she is only going two days a week right now....but what happens later?! She'll be a full time student soon and eating that crap everyday. I wonder if I need to be looking for a more health concious school now?!

Thanks for the blog...nice to see that someone else worries about these same issues! Report
When I worked at a preschool, the snacks we provided were always balanced and they kids were almost never allowed to serve themselves. We also talked about how important "growing food" is compared to snack food. They ate it up :) It's all in the approach, I guess. Report
Interesting take on snacks. My 3-year-old son has one snack while at school, but it is balanced between a carb choice and either a fruit OR veggie. He is given a specific amount and does not get any more. He also does not have parties with plates full of food. The first "party" will be for Valentine's Day and parents have been given strict instructions NOT to bring that stuff, or anything, for that matter.

I guess I don't worry too much about his diet. I watch closely and make sure he eats well-balanced meals/snacks, but he is so active that I know when he tells me that he is hungry he really IS hungry. He is a carb addict already in that if given his choice of food he wants sugar and carbs, but he usually asks for healthier versions of these foods. Report
Yes! America snacks tooooooooo much! Our snack have become our meals - non healthy high calorie and fat! that is a fact for the majority. Even those healthy eaters keep the snacks coming. My grandchildren always wants a snack when they come over. I try to have a tray of fresh fruit and/or veggies at hand - which they like but always think they have to have crackers or cookies which I rarely have. Yep this is a problem we have to turn around. Some schools have no restrictions on snacks and there are some that only allow healthy snack/meal for the children, which is the case of my grandchildrens daycare. Report
I think snacks are important, people are designed to graze, not eat '3 squares' a day. I imagine that is the reason more children are snacking because we are bcoming more aware of the importance of letting them decide when and how hungry they are, they are much more awore of their bodies than we are. However quality is important and it seems that maybe you should discuss this with the teachers, in Canada that is one of the things that is important in school (hello food pyramid, dragon juice does not appear to be on it). Quantity is also an issue it is a snack not meal. If they don't seem to respect your concerns after you bring them up try the allergy approach, if they think your child has allergies as opposed to thinking your the food police they will take greater care. Report
Snacks in schools are hugely overdone. When my kids were enrolled, the room parties were ridiculous. For my older son's second grade Valentines Party (one hour long), the piano in the classroom was covered with sweets and treats. The teacher could not even play the instrument, it was so covered. Most kids ate one or two things and the room parents ended up packing it up for each student to take home.

Sports teams are another thing. All three of my kids participate in healthy team sport activities. Through high school, EVERY game featured snacks and treats. Again, way overdone. Thankfully by high school, treats were limited to the last game of the season.

My solution to much of this is to provide water and a healthy snack for all of my children's sporting events. We just refuse to participate in any team snack. Unfortunately, for some of their leagues, this has meant paying an extra fee and receiving nothing for it.

As to school treats, I allowed my kids to sample their favorites, leave what they didn't care for and bring the rest home to share with the family; eat a little a day; or just pitch it. Report
I agree withe spark 526 take it up with the teacher, the school. At what ever school my kids have been at they have always enforced healthy snacks and lunches, now when the classrooms have there own parties is when they have cookies cake punch candy. Once in a while it is fine. If not you daughter may grow up to binge on the fake sugary stuff out there. Report
You're not the only one. I recently read an article where one Mom was complaining about having to provide snacks to her daughter's sports team - for a game that lasted less than 1.5 hours. She didn't hesitate to say that none of the girls required a snack after that short a time and for limited exercise. I was on many sports teams throughout high school and even in college. We did not get snacks - ever! I totally agree our culture revolves around food way too much. When trying to lose weight having snacks is important, but let's stop with all the snacking for short events. Report
This reminds me of a column by Paula Spencer in Woman's Day awhile back. She was wondering why kids can't have an hour-long activity without snacks involved. In her case, it was soccer practice--parents set up a rotation of providing snacks. The practice isn't that long, and the children weren't going to shrivel up and die if they didn't get a snack each and every time. It seems we as a culture we are obsessed with plying our children with snacks for every activity and event. Report
I don't think you're overreacting at all, nor do I think the 80/20 rule applies here because it should be you making the decision as to when your daughter gets "treat" foods and when she eats the other foods. At 3, she will be watching you and other grownups eat and drink, and if you make sure that no healthy foods are off limits, she will eat healthily as you do. It seems to me like the snacks at her school, in addition to being too close to lunchtime, are specifically foods made to target kids and train them to think that "if it's little, colorful, crunchy or sweet, and tastes good, and Mom doesn't like it, then it's obviously for me" as opposed to enjoying regular food as it is and not as "icky grownup food."

I wouldn't take issue with the goldfish, but I would be marching up to her caretakers asking how many goldfish the kids are getting for snack (at my daycare we got about 1/3 cup of Trix cereal apiece with itty bitty cups of JuicyJuice), and to see the nutrition label on that "dragon juice" they're given. I might even go so far as to talk to some other parents about it, because while some might not care what their children put in their mouths, some might just be unaware. If you could make the suggestion, the daycare could create a weekly menu of what the children will be provided with for snacks, drinks and when mealtimes are. I don't see it as much of an imposition, since I'm sure they already send you home a daily or weekly note with her activities and "gold stars." Report
I don't think ANYBODY should ever feed our kids ANYTHING without our permission. I send my daughter snacks/lunch to school with her. She is not allowed to drink BLUE juices, cakes or unhealthy cookies...
At a previous preschool that my daughter attended, the snacks were always cakes and cookies. Rarely fruit or anything healthy. Report
I don't have kids, but I do agree with you. I am a substitute teacher looking for a full-time job and this is something I have often thought about. I know, for me I eat a small healthy snack in the a.m. and in the p.m.; I have been wondering if this is something I could incorporate into a classroom, so I don't get to do something the kids don't. I think a piece of fruit or maybe even a few crackers would be good for children and keep them going. I have seen snacks some serve and it is huge, the children don't need that much food nor do they need all those empty calories. I think, as a parent, you are in the right to want you child and her friends to lead healthy lifestyles. Report
no you're not over reacting. there really isn't a need for your child to have snack when she is only there for 2 1/2 hours. Report
As a former administrator of early childhood programs, I tried to provide healthy snacks for the children and would encourage parents to provide healthy lunches for their children - even offered suggestions several times/year during conferences. Now, as a SAHM, I provide healthy snacks at home and send my children to school with healthy lunches/snacks but my 4 children see what others bring to school, and it's not always healthy! Our district does a good job with only a few parties, and the food isn't the focus, and must meet fat and sugar guidelines. There is always fruit/veggies available.

I think you are on target and it's always more difficult when there is a sense of lost control when it comes to what's important for you and your children! Good luck! Report
Wow I think I would suggest a snack policy. I think some schools have gone too far outlawing anything I would consider a treat but expecting some limits is reasonable. If your child is not hungry for her regular meal she is getting short changed nutritionally by replaceing the healthy foods you would serve with pretty junky stuff. Report
My kids are older (13&16) and snacks at school have never bothered me. I didn't buy much in the way of chips and pop when they were younger and they have no problem now saying no to excess now if they are simply not hungry. They have both been raised with the same food rules and choices but one is a bit on the heavy side and one is built like a stick. I don't think a few extra snacks at school made the difference. As they get to older grades the snack parties are few between. Report
you can ask the teacher to offer fruits and veggies with the goldfish and ask if they are the whole grain at least they are a baked snack the whole grain have 5g of fat for 55 fish and 2 g of fiber and 4g of protien and she is going to buring it off playing with the other kids Report
do not believe you are overreacting considering the obese children we have today. we do have to expect that our children will have to make choices but at 3 years old they will eat what is put before them if it tastes good. we can only control ourselves and our household not the whole outside world. day care and nursery schools need to be educated and hire staff that will put healthy choices as snacks. Report
You aren't overreacting at all. In Texas, schools are getting very strict on what can be served, both for meals and for snacks. Parents are no longer allowed to bring snacks or treats for children, but all is provided through the cafeteria. If it's not considered nutritional, they don't get it. At my grandson's Christmas party, they served crudites! Now all he wants for snacks are veggies or fruits. I love it. Report
I don't think you're overreacting at all with respect to what they are eating... the question becomes what, if anything can you do about it. You've already had a lot of suggestions, so I won't add any except to say that I take the position of 'If I'm not proactive in my child's world, who will be?" I didn't send my daughter to preschool at all for this very reason... until she was older, and a little better able to make good choices for herself, I wanted to be able to control the variables from which she had to choose. I'm really excited and pleasantly surprised at the choices she now makes... especially with regard to food... if there is a choice, she will choose something healthy over something junky or sweet. She has already experienced that the junk just isn't satisfying. Your daughter would likely make better choices if she had the choice to make (though 3 might be pushing it for that sort of awareness).

I'd also be pushing the school for a healthier policy with regard to snacks. Our school has us pack all their food for the day... drinks, snacks, lunch (all day, every day kindergarten). At this age they will eat only if they are hungry, unless they already have bad habits in relation to food. My DD, even with a really good breakfast, will often eat her snack and a portion of her lunch at snack time, eat 'snackish' at lunch and then eat another 'meal' as soon as she gets home at 2:30 and then nothing until supper. Other days she will eat little at snack, devour her lunch and snack at lunch time, and have a small snack after school.

What Allows her to make good choices and respond to her own body's needs is that she is allowed to choose from a number of good choices. With kids that is the bottom line... make sure all the choices available are good ones, and they will choose well. (I don't buy the theory that it's just too expensive to supply healthy food for kids... bulk buying provides A LOT of options at a reasonable price.) Report
Our elementary school has a no pop, no junk food policy.
They do look around at what the kids are eating in Kindergarten and grade one and if you send no fruit they will let the child know that they need at least one piece of fruit.
One day I had no money and sent lunch without fruit and was told by my daughter that the teacher told her that she needed fruit. I was a little put off because I had no money to buy the fruit. Where I am it is very expensive.
Now my children make their own lunches and they pack healthy stuff. (And one treat, like a homemade cookie.)
Maybe there should be made a suggestion that that policy should be made of no pop, no junk. It sure starts them on the healthy way.
No, this is not an overreaction, but realistic concern. It is best to teach early in life about healthy eating and living. Report
When my kids were little and it was my turn to bring snacks to their "playdays," I would bring grapes, cut melon, baby carrots, and other healthy snacks. The kids ate those snacks without complaint. I consider most granola bars, modified cookies. Most juice boxes are not much better than Koolaid. Let's give our kids water or real juice. Report
If your daughter is too full from "snack" to have lunch, then no, I don't think you are overreacting. IMHO, something is wrong if she's too full to eat lunch! However, I don't think that occasionally eating foods that are on your "no" list will hurt her.

In our school system, the administrators banned school party foods (including birthdays) because they could not control the foods for the allergic students. They tried several things before banning the foods, including listing ingredients on what parents baked or only allowing store-bought foods so that ingredients were listed. Finally, the administrators said that if parents wanted the class to celebrate a child's birthday, to send in a small token (like a box of pencils, one pencil for each child), or ask the class to sing Happy Birthday to the child (which they do anyway), or the teacher would allow the child to wear a birthday crown for the day...something special that did not involve food.

I monitor a lot of my kids' food, while still allowing the occasional treat. Last summer at camp, my oldest gained 15 pounds because of being allowed to purchase junky snacks after lunch and dinner (chips, soda, candy). But my two youngest didn't gain anything. So...sometimes teaching moderation works, and sometimes it doesn't. How do we figure out what works for each kid?? Report
You know as a prior kindergarten teacher I Totally agree with you! I did not want our kids eating snack, especially because our snack was 1.5 hours before lunch. Not enough time in between! Kids rarely ate good at lunch (which meant more playing) and then I'm sure they were fussy at home in the afternoon because they were hungry. And the thing that really gets me is that at this particular school they had snack all the way through 6th grade. Hello, in what world does a kid over 5 need a morning snack????? Report
I don't know. I look at how many kids are significantly over weight and really wonder. Report
Yes, I think you ARE overreacting. What about the 80/20 rule? It seems like you're doing fine in giving her healthy food at home, so one little snack/treat at school isn't going to hurt. I can understand being concerned about portion sizes ("lots of goldfish" sounds like it might be too much) so you might want to discuss your concerns with the preschool teacher; although honestly, that is something that should be discussed BEFORE placing your child in a certain school.

I worked at a YMCA childcare/preschool, and since we had to be accredited by the state, we had guidelines about the kinds of food we could serve the kids for breakfast and snack. That could be something to ask about. Report
This may seem heretical to some, but if the child is "only three", you might consider skipping organized preschool and keep her home with you, to preschool her at home, to more fully impart the things you want her to learn, including making wise food decisions. Report
In our preschool, the kids brought their own snacks. Because of allergies, they weren't allowed to share snacks, so each parent had control over what their child had to eat. Parties were the exception, as parents could bring in goodies to share. There were guidelines, of course, such as NO peanut products & anything with eggs had to be labeled as such, etc. Report
I help out with a co-operative playschool here in Canada where the parents bring in the snack for their scheduled day (1-2 x per month). We have a menu of 6 rotating snacks (includes the drink) and there are guidelines about juice needing to be real and trying to hit 2-3 of the food groups. For special occasions they are allowed to bring in a special treat but they must also offer fruit and to keep the treat portions small (ie 1"x1" piece of cake). This works for us and the kids are eating reasonably healthy snacks regularly and it takes the stress off of the parents to have to come up with a delicious, nutritious snack. Report
I am not always happy witht he foods my daughter eats at pre-school so I try even harder to feed her right at home. I don't always, but I try. I am lucky too that my daughter will ask for candy, but I can offer her fruit and she will 95% of the time choose fruit over candy. She definately loves fruit.
It's tuff, but I would talk to the school and state your concern. My friend takes her sons food to school and they feed him that instead of the school food. that may be an option for you. Report
I think that you are overreacting a little bit. I would talk to the teacher about the "dragon juice" as that sounds like kool-aid. However, having worked as a preschool teacher, I can vouch that most young children do need a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. In the preschool in which I taught, the tuition simply did not cover the cost of providing more nutritious snacks. The director could buy a pack of cookies for $1, which would feed the entire school, versus several packs of cheese or fruit for much more. Not knowing your school's situation (public vs private, amount of tuition, etc), this may certainly factor in. Of course, goldfish are not the worse thing she could be given. How about oreos? Since you're truly concerned, You could speak with the teacher and other parents to come up with a viable solution. Are parents willing to send in healthy snacks daily? Is the school able to afford healthier options? Can you send in your own snack for your daughter? (This may be looked down upon, since children this age all like to have the same thing). At the very least, they should probably consider switching to water for the drink.

I teach preschool and we do have snack every day in my class. Two and a half hours isn't a long time for an adult to go without a snack, but it can be a long time for a preschooler who is active (we play outside or in the gym every day) or one who hasn't had a good lunch before school because "we were too busy" (argggh). Snack usually comes before free play so the children are inclined to eat just enough to refuel and move on. (Snack including hand washing and prayer - we're a Catholic preschool - typically takes about 15 minutes.) Our school policy is to ask families to bring in healthy snacks for the class to share and we provide a list to help people know what we mean by a healthy snack. We get the occasional box of Teddi Grahams, but we get a lot of fruit, yogurt and vegetables too.The school also is the provider for snack on holidays so our "special treats" are a reasonable size.
If you have concerns, please talk to your child's teacher; I know I would rather have someone talk to me than be upset about something and just stew over it. I would also probably talk to the teacher about portion sizes; a child shouldn't be eating so many goldfish that she doesn't have room for lunch. Report
I taught school for 35 years and I loved the ones I spent in low-income areas because there was little the parents could do to provide those snacks and party foods. I had to pay for it out of my own pocket so I got to choose what foods the kids got. Sometimes I brought in a cake for holidays or some candy, but I kept the servings small. Many times I brought in fruit, juice, low-sugar treats, etc., especially for non-holiday eating. Guess what- the kids loved it! Some of them got to try some type of fruit or food they'd never tasted. We also did a lot of cooking in class- so much reading and math involved there!

Your problem is the same as mine as a parent 30 years ago. I tried to talk with the teacher, but that's tough. You are going up against their lifestyle and values. But I continued to send healthy things for my daughter to eat and taught her how to make better choices at home. (She must have learned it because she's never had a problem with her weight!) Try to keep calm about this issue and don't let it get you down. Perhaps you can convince the teacher to reduce the amount of food given for the benefit of all the kids. Good luck!

I've been the preschool teacher and the mother (and now grandmother) of preschoolers, and it can all go either way. You can control what your daughter gets by simply making her eat what you send to school with her, but I wouldn't recommend that; if she's seen as different or "weird," the kids will pick on her.

If the school is providing the snacks, you can (w/ other like-minded parents) bring that up, and see what you can about the type of snacks they provide. If parents are bringing them in, do the same thing but lobby for the school putting restrictions. I know where I worked the last time, they only served milk as a drink and limited sweets;the place before allowed only apple juice (because of the low number of children who have sensititivies.)

Obesity is becoming an epidemic, so your daughter's school shouldn't be contributing! Report
I don't think you're overreacting. Personally, I don't consider blue drinks or goldfish to be real food and I wouldn't want to feed that sort of food to a child on a daily basis. Of course the occasional treat is fine, but when I have children I want them to grow up eating mostly real, clean foods. I suppose it is only one snack a day.

I disagree with your points on snacking. It all comes down to personal preference, but I'd much rather have tons of snacks and smaller meals. I have 3-4 snacks a day and maintain my weight just fine. It really prevents me from overeating. Report
I won't say if you are overreacting or not....the deal is that even when you have strict eating habits at home, and you were able to control what she ate at school now, eventually she is going to be making those food choices on her own. My mom was very strict with me when I was a kid, as soon as I was out and about without someone breathing over my shoulder as to what I was supposed to eat, I gorged on sweets. I knew better, I knew they were bad for me but because it was so restricted at home, I took advantage when I wasn't home. I have three kids, moderation is key. You have to teach them what is good and bad and why. Encourage them to make the healthier choice, but they have to learn that exercise is just as important! Treats can be ok SOMETIMES, it teaches them to make good decisions on their own without feeling guilty and becoming closet sweet eaters. You never know, they may not like some of the sweet daughter doesn't like chocolate....whewww! Again, my position is moderation and exercise. Report
I cannot comment on what is happening today. I can say though, that when I went to kindergarten, in the late 1940's, we had a snack. I can explicity remember this because I used to give the same snack to my children and I still enjoy it occasionallyand that was: a graham cracker with tomatoe juice. I don't feel that snacks are new to our society its the nature of the snacks that have changed. Perhaps school boards should be looking at more healthier options: eg asking the children to bring in their own fresh fruit snack, eg a banana or apple. The comments made regarding your attitude towards this is very good: don't make a big deal out of this with your daughter or she will "dig in" and that would be worse. You are learning a big lesson in this situation - you won't be able to control everything your child does 100% of the time. Report
I agree with you. My kids are in elementary school, and it does seem that every single activity revolves around snacks. Two hours at Sunday School does not require a snack, in my book, especially when the class ends at noon. My kids frequently skip lunch on Sundays because they have Cheezits and juice boxes at Sunday School. Same with sports practice. An hour-long soccer practice should definitely have water breaks, but do the kids really need chips or donuts, especially when practice ends at 6pm? I just don't get it.

My son was randomly placed in the school's "allergy class" (where all the kids with peanut allergies etc are grouped). This has been a blessing in disguise. There is a strong emphasis on safe foods, and the parents in this class are required to avoid nuts, dyes, milk, etc when providing snacks for the class. The result is that every classroom party usually has one wonderful sweet treat (always baked by one of the parents of a kid with allergies, so we know it is safe for all) and then lots of things like fruit, cheese and crackers, which the kids genuinely enjoy. Compare that to my other child's class, where snacks this year have always been things like cupcakes and whoopie pies. I don't see why anyone needs weekly cupcakes at 10am. Especially when they're getting a brownie with their hot lunch in the cafeteria, and donuts at soccer practice later that day. I do think there's joy in being a kid and really relishing sweets like there's no tomorrow. But what I see is constant indulgence. Moderation! Report
My son is 3 and in a preschool two days a week for about 7 hours a day. He gets a morning snack and afternoon snack which are provided by his school. They usually consist of pretzels, goldfish, popcorn, crackers and even some simple cereals like honeycombs or cheerios. However, since my son has peanut/tree nut allergies, I have the option to send in a snack if I don't want him to eat what is provided. I would imagine that your school would be willing to work with you as well for providing healthy alternatives. I think you should look at it as a learning experience. I know with my son's school, it is portion controlled. They get a small bathroom cup filled with cereal or 2 crackers. He drinks the juice I provide for him throughout the day, in addition to water. In my opinion, he is learning to control his portion and eat the proper amount, not overeating. But I would talk to the school and see if you can come up with an alternative, if it freaks you out that much. Report
As a preschool teacher, I say - PLEASE make your opinions known to the teacher. I have sent home notes saying that our snack needs to provide part of our daily nutrition and that snacks such as cookies and cupcakes are for special occasions only. I give suggestions as to appropriate snacks. I will not serve anything other than 100% juice - no corn syrup in my room! Also - no red dye. What a child snacks on has a direct relationship to their behavior. It makes a bigger difference for some children than for others but a piece of fruit or veggies and dip are always better than a cookie. (getting down off of my soapbox now)
Most of my class would prefer to have half of a banana rather than a cupcake. Report
I agree that you are not overeacting. The fact that any & every gathering of people seems to require food and drink has long been one of my pet peeves because I have always had to fight weight gain.
I am not a good hostess because I do not always do this.
When I am at a "eating event", someone always critizises me because I take a very tiny helping of several dishes. Report
If snacks are treated as mini-meals then there is nothing wrong with having them. My children get a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. I think that the word "snack" gets confused with "treat" very often. Eating a snack does not automatically imply that you have to eat junk food. I have a four-year-old in preschool and I am not always thrilled with the snacks offered. However, I realize that it is important for the children to learn the social manners associated with eating (stay in your seat, pass the food, please/thank you, etc.). Having a snack with the class is a social learning experience. Having a snack at home with me is a time to model good nutrition habits. Report
If she has just one bad snack durning the day, you are lucky. Most kids have more than that a day. And she proably is excited about it because it's something she don't get at home. Just let her enjoy it since you keep the rest of the day in control. Report
Get a grip. You're seemingly focusing your attention solely on food. What sort of message does that send your daughter? Food is not the be-all and end-all...settle down.

Second point, why is this my issue? If you have a problem with how your child's teacher is feeding your child, you should take it up with your child's teacher. When somebody writes a diatribe and then says, "Am I overreacting?", the answer is usually a resounding YES! Report
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