I’ve been reading your old posts under the “olim” (immigrants) section [in my new menu at the top of the page]. I was thinking about the ganenet (preschool teacher) saving NIS 800 a month. Maybe she should have used it to buy higher quality food. At both my kids’ schools, they get way too many treats. One night after the first week in school Adele threw up. She told me it was because she had too many treats in gan. When I stopped in on Mordechai’s first day, they said I could peek in and see how cute he was. He was eating a lollipop–his first ever hard candy. While I appreciated their concern for his happiness, I mentioned that I don’t like him to have sweets. The staff said they “didn’t have a choice” because he was crying.
I can’t say I’ve never used sweets in that way. I always bring treats on airplane rides, for example. But the idea that they HAD TO bothered me. Now they both get at least two servings a day of candy, chocolate, wafers, or cookies. I’m writing this after both my kids “snuck” into the fridge, chose an apple, washed it and are eating it. And my kids think Mishmish (apricots) is a treat. I don’t know how to balance wanting to be normal and making my kids feel left out with my disgust at the junk the kids bring home from gan, friends’ houses, talmud torah, and Shabbat Tehilim.
It seems with all the babies in daycare it should be easier to start health education and a “framework” of healthy eating from a young age. I want to keep my kids enjoying healthy food and not get used to all the junk but they both tell me, “I told my ganenet ‘lo toda‘ (no thank you) and she didn’t listen.” Yesterday I asked Adele if she thought we should get Pizza for my birthday and she said it’s too oily. Well, enough of my ranting. Maybe I sh
ould take a cue from the kids: Drop the leftover ice cream into the trash and eat an apple.
There’s another comment on How to Raise Kids Where Neglect is Normal where a parent says that you need to distinguish nutrition from safety and neglect. But it is only a distinction in our culture. It should be considered neglectful to give kids so many chemicals and fake junk passed off as “food.” Instead, its considered cruel to deprive kids of sweets. In France families are taught portion control from infancy and they don’t have all the “food issues” Americans think this would create, they’re just healthier, and this was a government program.
My point is that if any country can do it, Israel can because kids are in daycare so young and they are fed in school, not like America where the parents have to find shelf-stable food to send. it would be easy for the
government to implement a policy of fresh fruits and veggies and no candy during the week.
My comments: Government-run preschools are regularly inspected to make sure they are following nutritional guidelines. They are allowed to give a salty snack or a fruit for the 12:00 PM snack, but the 10:00 meal must include bread, protein and vegetables. Still, when my kids were in gan, it seemed like every other day there was another “excuse” for offering sweets. Kids are offered candy and salty snacks here at every occasion.
Yosefa’s children are in the independent school system and I believe the situation there is even worse.
One of my friends had a child in a gan where a pilot program on good nutrition. The children were interviewed about their eating habits before and after the program. They learned about good nutrition, and there were strict guidelines about what was allowed. My friend was pleased, but I don’t know if anything came of it.
In the US there is an ongoing public discourse about the quality of school lunches for kids. Here, it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
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