A Colorado preschool has recently drawn criticism after a teacher denied a student her cookies, and sent her home with a scathing note. Natalee Pearson, age four, had gone to school with a sandwich, a string cheese, and some Oreo cookies. When she returned home, the Oreos were still in her lunch box, as was with a note for Pearson’s mother.
The note read “Dear Parents, It is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable, and a healthy snack from home, along with milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation.”
Natalee’s mother, Leeza Pearson, disagrees with the note. A spokesperson for the school claims that Natalee was given a replacement snack, but Pearson told ABC News that her daughter returned home hungry.
“They don’t provide lunch for my daughter. I provide lunch,” Pearson added. “It’s between me and the doctor in terms of what’s healthy for her.” She went on to say that the school’s director did not offer an explanation.
Lisa Moskovitz, a dietitian and owner of the NY Nutrition Group, told Fox News that an occasional cookie is a perfectly acceptable snack for children.
“Allowing your children empty calorie sweets, like Oreos, on occasion is perfectly fine and does not make you a horrible parent,” Moskovitz stated. “Even adults should be able to enjoy an Oreo from time-to-time without any guilt.”
That’s good news for Americans, who consume over two billion cookies annually. Often, parents should be more concerned with foods that appear healthy, like flavored yogurts and granola bars, but which often contain more added sugar than cookies and other snacks – all leading to problems at the doctors office.
Moskovitz went on to add that confiscating children’s snacks can be counter-productive for schools that want to encourage healthy habits.
“Not only can imposing strict rules or forcing children to remove certain foods have negative effects on the child’s emotional state, but it will not have any long-lasting effects on the child’s diet either.”