Last weekend, I attended my nephew’s 3-year old birthday party. There were probably 15 other kids around his age there. Let’s take a look at what was on the menu:
1. Capri Sun. Ohhh, but this is the 100% fruit juice one! Still, there is probably as much sugar as there is in soda.
2. Corn chips. Yummy, salty, & addictive!
3. Candy, LOTS of candy. In fact, there was not just one, but TWO pinatas, filled with Tootsie Rolls, Dum Dums, Sweettarts, and some unknown white chocolate treats. Kids had pockets full of this stuff that’s usually reserved for Halloween!
4. Pizza! What kids birthday party would be complete without pizza?
5. And of course, cake, because their insulin levels needed to be jacked up just a little more!
I’m pretty sure I was the only one in attendance who saw anything wrong with the eating agenda. And, I know what you might be thinking: “Don’t be such a party pooper! Live a little once in a while!” I do get that this isn’t a daily thing for most of the kids (at least lets hope not). However, I’m looking more at the question of why do we as a society feel that carb craziness is just part of life as a kid, particularly at a birthday party?
I think it comes down to this. Most of us grew up with this same sort of routine carb indulgence around holidays and birthdays. Many still do participate in this on a regular basis. So, we think “we turned out okay, why should I deprive my kid?” Or, it’s simply that questioning the premise here is just too difficult.
Imagine serving healthy snacks like beef jerky, instead of junk food?
What if they didn’t get juice and had to drink…water?
And, wouldn’t it be sac-religious to not have birthday cake??
So it comes down to keeping social connections in tact and not rocking the boat and risking isolation from friends.
You see, it all comes down to self esteem, and being able to individualize when you know what is the best route to take, even if that means going against the stream.
I think there’s a way to “have your cake and eat it too” here (and not even have to serve cake!). Some things can be outright skipped, i.e. pinata hitting can be replaced with another game that doesn’t involve candy. Soda or juice can be sparkling water or even some semi-healthy drinks like flavored coconut water or the low sugar Vitamin Water. Vegetable chips over corn chips, steak instead of pizza, and are you ready….a paleo dessert like this chocolate custard instead of cake!
It all may sound insane at first glance, but a healthy and still fun kids birthday party is all totally doable. You may get questioned by your friends at first, but who knows, you may influence them in some way by leading by example, and showing what a healthy family looks like!
What about you? What do your birthday parties look like?
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