The idea that the current child obesity epidemic in this country is cause for the banning of a hallowed and time-honored tradition, the school bake sale, in the New York City schools and others around the country is a half-baked strategy at best.
When kids come together for a bake sale, they learn to achieve a collective goal through teamwork. Instead of banning these effective fundraising efforts, why not simply re-think them. If school bake sales historically have proven to be a profit center for kids to raise some ‘dough’, isn’t this an opportunity to challenge the children (and their adult supervision) to raise the bar on the quality of what they bring to the bakery table?
Instead of banning bake sales, why not build a better machine? Instead of discouraging children from supporting a sugar habit of epidemic proportions, allow them to raise needed funds for school gear and travels by promoting healthier choices. Parents (with their kids) can prepare anti-oxidant rich cranberry and pumpkin breads, carrot, apple and zucchini muffins and cookies loaded with natural ingredients. The shelves are lined with healthy alternatives to traditional white flours and white sugar that is contributing to obesity, poor concentration and lack of productivity at an alarming rate. Oat, spelt and bean-inspired flours to name a few, have arrived on local grocery store shelves. Unprocessed, raw sugar alternatives which don’t spike blood sugar are widely available as well.
Notable authors have shared the secrets for sneaking real food into traditional desserts and it’s time now to teach the kids to bake healthier and equally delicious replicas of their own favorites.
And for those families that prefer to shop for contributions to the school bake sale, remarkably delicious gluten-free cakes, fruit sweetened cookies, flourless muffins and waist-friendly treats are in abundance at retail.
Why not give students a chance to make good on their knowledge of the negative effects of empty-calorie ingredients and make this a teachable moment. There is a missed lesson for children when bake sales are banned.
Let them eat cake and THRIVE.