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Team Mom Gets Ninja on Snacks

September 22, 2012

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The ‘Nutrition’ Panel of Doritos.  All I see is a bunch of GMO corn, artificial flavors and lots of fluorescent faux cheese – oh, and MSG too?  Cherry on top of this cluster of crap.

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The ‘Nutrition’ Panel of Gatorade:  Someone please tell me where the ‘quenching, electrolyte’ replacement part of the beverage is?  Save your money. Red and blue mustaches are not sexy.

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The ‘Nutrition Panel’ of Oreos.  Hmm, let’s see, lots of enriched flour, GMO oil, GMO corn and artificial flavors.  I give them a big fat O for the nutrition grade because they don’t deserve an F.

 

I was so proud the day my daughter decided to pick soccer as her first team sport.  After playing competitively myself for 10 years, I felt my tail feathers spread and a rush of excitement at the thought of being able to kick the ball around again.  Could a comeback be in the making?  A 40 something bending it like Beckham?  With that, my mind wandered off about the Adonis himself in his skivvies.  Mmmmhmmm.  When I was rudely brought back to life by the coach’s phone call.

Coach:  Mareya, can you be the Team Mom? 

Me:  “Does it involve food?  Why, I’d love to!!”

My daughter’s first soccer team.  What an honor.  Sure, to bring snacks for half time and after the game and some refreshments.  Right up my alley.  I had assembled a full lineup of nutritious treats that would be perfect and vetted all of these carefully, looking at the labels and making sure none had artificial flavors, colors or chemical preservatives – or an inordinate amount of sodium.  We have a tendency to ignore that one and just zone in on the fat and calories. But there’s a lot of other shit to dig through.

Herding all the other parents into bringing something healthy became my challenge.  I’ve never seen more sickening sweets and neon colors since the 80’s when Madonna made dayglow a hot ticket.  Our kids are out there, busting their butts playing their sports and trying to get fit and we’re literally sabotaging their ability to be successful.  80% of an athlete’s performance is attributed to nutrition – what they put in is what they’ll get out.  If we think giving them Gatorade, Doritos, Oreos and candy after their games is a treat, we might as well give them a swift kick in the ass to go along with it. Supposed ‘sports’ drinks that are pretty much all sugar, artificial colors, ester of wood resin and vegetable oil don’t really do much to replace electrolytes.  Eat a banana, drink lots of water and get your carbs and some natural sugar from real fruit. And Oreos?  Just look at the ingredient panel and find me a shred of something decent there.  Doritos are still flavored with MSG, for the love.  We’ve been trained to say no to MSG.  Side effects are, it can make you dizzy, faint and short of breath.  I guess the makers of Doritos didn’t get that memo.

Needless to say, there’s some food peer pressure out there.  Parents that are given treat duties generally resort to a warehouse-type retailer so they can pick up the jumbo packs, and most of those manufacturers are bigger than life.  Those snacks are ‘cool’, so the commercials and multi-bazillion dollar budgets say.  So you end up with a bunch of crackers, cookies and fluoro colored phoods that were concocted in a massive R&D lab, then conveniently packed up in bags on a massive automated assembly line. 

I got to the point where I made a recommendation list of snacks and drinks to bring as to not-so-gently suggest other parents not bring crap.  I didn’t want to turn into the Team Mom Gestapo, but every time one of the offender snacks would show up, I’d feel my shoulders tense up and my face pickle.  When you try so hard to give your kids the right choices, you have to protect the food fortress from junk invaders.  I’m not talking about a big sacrifice here.  This is about setting the right rhythm for a future of good choices, period.  If it’s a chaotic cacophony of oddly matched notes, your kids will be confused, wondering if they’re listening to a punk opera.  Here’s the message:  It’s ok to pig out after I’ve just run up and down the field for an hour working my ass off and your reward is my bad choice.  Yes, it’s your choice.  You own it.  Be the conductor, because their futures and their performance depend on it. Their coaches may be conditioning them with drills, but you’re preparing them for a lifetime of dietary success.  Mustaches might be hot right now with the kids but those stupid blue and red ones from drinking Gatorade are just downright nasty.

 

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