Are Bake Sales Really The Enemy?

I recently came across this article on NPR and it really struck a nerve with me.

If you don’t want to click on the link and read it, basically the article talks about  school districts that are banning bake sales in order to fight the obesity epidemic. I have so many thoughts on this I’m not even sure I can organize them in one place, but here goes:

Do we have an obesity epidemic in the US? Yes. This much is obvious. Adults, and more alarmingly, children are becoming so obese that health officials have gone into panic mode trying to figure out where we’ve all gone wrong.

Are baked goods healthy for you? Well, no, obviously. Baked goods, many filled with added sugar and high calorie counts, are not (and will never be) health food. Any nutritionist, RD, or health nut that you talk to will advise limiting intake of sweets, baked goods, etc. But the key word here is limit. Unless you have a medical intolerance to ingredients in these foods, is it really necessary to ban them?

Are bake sales the reason why US children are so overweight? I’m going to go ahead and say No to this one.  Sure, as stated above, baked goods are certainly not health food. But isn’t it the parents responsibility to help children live a well balanced life? And doesn’t a well balanced life involve nutritious eating, exercise, andthe occasional treat?

Feel free to disagree with me (as I’m sure many people will), but since when does buying a cookie at a bake sale make someone overweight? Teaching children that treats are treats, and that they are OK in moderation, is important, in my book. Banning the occasional indulgence and treating them as “bad” or “evil” foods will only fuel the fire for children to want these things more.

(Take, for instance, the lack of Toaster Struedels in my house as a child. Do you know how badly I wanted those things and how I would FEAST on them at friends houses who had them?)

Breakfast of Champions (or so I thought when I was 12)

Another point that I feel is worth stating is the fact that most things at bake sales are home made, with real ingredients and without preservatives/chemicals. Ban bake sales, and children are still going to eat cookies/sweets, but they’ll be eating the ones from 7/11 that are so filled with chemicals they can hardly even be called food any more. Granted, I don’t have any children yet, but I am pretty sure that when I do have them, I would much rather them eat a cookie that a fellow “bake-sale mom” made, than a store-bought creation. Call me crazy.

Fresh out of the oven or packed with preservatives? Tough choice. 

All in all, I just don’t think that banning bake sales is necessary, nor do I think that it will lead to a healthier America. Not to mention the amount of money that many of these bake sales raise — money that can go towards sports equipment, educational materials, etc. for those school districts that don’t quite have enough cash flow.

Bottom line: Bake sales are not making kids fat. Society is making kids fat. Don’t you think they had bake sales 50 years ago when there was no obesity epidemic? I’m pretty sure June Cleaver made her fair share of cookies and her fictional kiddos were just fine. Just saying.

 The Leave It To Beaver clan ate cookies, and they were damn near perfect. 

What do you all think about this? Do you think that bake sales should be banned?

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9 thoughts on “Are Bake Sales Really The Enemy?

  1. Haven’t read the NPR article yet but I plan to — I completely agree with you. Not only that its “society”, but its the school districts themselves falling into the trap of budget cuts and a school schedule that simply doesn’t work anymore. They cut corners to sell cheaper food aka processed & essentially garbage, they cut after school sports/programs that would keep kids off the couch….the list goes on and on. granted it is absolutely a parents responsibility to help create a balanced lifestyle for their kid, but now you have parents who grew up the same way and don’t know any better. the cycle perpetuates itself. the worst part is, there is so much money going into diabetes/obesity and fighting the diseases, which is great, but its a band-aid approach. the problem needs to be solved at the root – aka educate kids BEFORE there is an issue so later on there won’t be. but that requires a lot of change – maybe even changing the typical school schedule – and i think people shy away from that. anyway, in a word, NO bake sales shouldn’t be banned, and we should run the world.

    • I agree with you 100% that the “cure” needs to start at the roots — with the children and within the school systems. It’s so true that they’re cutting things like after school programs, sports, physical education, etc. and at the same time, feeding these kids crap in the cafeteria… but they wont allow a cookie?!? Great points, as always. And you are SO right, we Should run the world…. we could create a pretty kick-ass place I’m sure. 🙂

  2. Totally agree with you (again, haven’t read the article.) In fact, I would go so far as to say that bake sales and birthday parties in classes (another thing that I’ve read articles about being banned) are precisely the sorts of things that should be encouraged, WITH the understanding that these are celebrations, and therefore the RIGHT time to be eating cakes and cookies.

    If schools want to be healthier places they should remove the vending machines with candy (many do) and the snack bar available, and the desserts with the lunches (again, many do this). Eating a dessert after every dinner (something we did at my house most nights growing up) is not really healthy, but having a dessert once (maybe twice, even three times) a week is a healthy thing. But even more so celebrating in community with friends and family is healthy thing to do!

    • Yes, I agree that the bake sales, birthday parties, and other special events should be encouraged! Those are absolutely appropriate times for treats, and kids need to learn the difference between indulgences and every-day eats. I think that schools could do a lot better job of regulating the junk that is served in the cafeteria/vending machines, although I know that funding plays a big part in that too, it’s a tricky problem when money is involved. And very true, teaching kids that dessert is not necessarily an every day thing is a very important lesson!

  3. Bake sale pro: parents & kids can spend quality time together preparing treats to fundraise for their school.Maybe use this time to teach your kids what is healthy, what is nutritious, and what is a ‘treat’…..

  4. I completely agree with you. PLUS, before schools look into banning bake sales, they should look at the quality of food they sell in their cafeterias. At my middle- and high school, there was sugary juice and chocolate milk (and coffee milk – but apparently that’s a New England thing?!?! I’ve never seen it in Texas or Montana or Florida), the entrees were either pasta with sauce and bread (no veg or fruit!), or a cheeseburger with fries, or JUST fries, or a bagel, orrrr if you lucked out and were among the first students to arrive, you could get a salad – but there were only, like, 10 salads a day, and 900 students. After school we had access to vending machines with chips & candy but no fruit or healthy snacks. I’d say after all that damage, the odd bake sale didn’t do us much harm.

  5. Pingback: On the Ban of Bake Sales « Gratiaetnatura's Blog

  6. I dig bake sales…well not since I found out I was allergic to gluten…maybe it was all the bake sales! j/k. I agree with you. Bottom line is that a lot of people are lazy and think that if they obstacles are not “in their face” they won’t crave them. Little do they know that until you train your mind NOT to crave them (still working on my mind), you will ALWAYS crave them, bake sale or not.

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