During the school year I work at sporting events most evenings from just before suppertime until 9 or 10 at night. When I first started in the field I made a decision that I would not allow the concession stand to become my second kitchen. Think about it, you CAN find something passable for healthy almost anywhere...except a concession stand. In junior high I used to love taking my dollar and getting a 8 oz fountain pop and candy bar (yes, back in the day). Oh, I loved concession stands. Ball games. Roller skating. Softball practice. So I knew in my adult life that because I would be surrounded almost nightly with this unhealthy option, I needed to stay away. And even though I've struggled with a lot of unhealthy eating, I've pretty much stuck to my "rule" that I won't eat from a concession stand. Sure, there are exceptions, but I would guess it has been less than 5 times the past year, and those were usually due to thirst.
But my kids...that's another story. They quite quickly caught on to the fact that a ball game = a candy/popcorn store on site. And while I don't want them to have too much junk, I also know that popcorn will keep a three year old occupied for about half of a basketball game. My kids are even so keenly aware of the sport/concession stand connection that they were both disappointed to learn that there is not a concession stand open during practice.
Tomorrow night we start a new era in our life. Annika (5) has her first softball game. We have entered the world of sports (or at least a different type of involvement). Which also means we've entered a world where kids are given credit at the concession stand after the game. I have to say from a health standpoint, this concept just befuddles me. We have rising rates of childhood obesity due in part to sedentary lifestyles. Organized sports is a way children can actually be active, but then we "reward" them with candy or soda of which the caloric content is greater than the calories actually expended on the field. It just makes me uncomfortable. Like our dentist giving kids sugary gumballs after their checkup (true story).
So am I going to be the mean parent and not let my kid get candy? No. Even though I've said this month we're eating only whole foods, I'll let them get something from the concession stand. And maybe because they're eating about 80-90% whole foods I won't feel so guilty. But I do know if we continue in the world of sports, I will try to be the one that always brings water and healthy food so our family doesn't have supper at "Restaurante de Concession."