halloween treatsDo you remember bringing treats to school for your birthday when you were a kid? I remember parents baking cookies, cupcakes, cakes and loads of other sweets. That’s not a memory that my kids will take with them as they grow up.

More and more schools are going to a healthy snack policy and saying no to homemade baked goods. Now, at the start of each school year, my kids come home with an approved list of snacks tailored to the allergies and restrictions of the kids in their classrooms. Usually this means that everything has to be store bought so that ingredients are clearly listed and brands can be checked for allergens. The only exception to this pre-approved list of packaged and branded snacks is fruit or veggies.

Have you seen this too? What do you think? Are our children missing out? According to our Golden Apple Award-winning preschool teacher this year, she’s seen a shift in the tastes of kids. Increasingly, she says, they seem to prefer the healthy snacks. The types of sugary baked goods we brought in for my birthday when I was little, she claims, go largely uneaten. Fruits, veggies, multigrain cereals and crackers, she says, are the things that get finished these days.

As a parent with food restrictions I think I’m okay with this new rule. I think my kids could live on fruit and veggies alone but I do find it limiting. How do you make an apple special without dipping it in caramel and covering it with nuts? How do you celebrate with a stick of celery lacking ants and the log?

This year at least I have a plan for Halloween. I already took the day off from my day job and told my kids teachers to expect me in the classroom. I’ll be bringing with me the fixin’s for the kids to make their own boo-nana’s, mini orange pumpkins and fruit cup jack-o-lanterns. It’s not the same as baking a special treat with my son at home to bring into school but this is hands-on for the classroom and healthy for everyone. No gluten, no nuts, no soy, no added sugar and still tons of fun and festive for the holiday. I’m betting this new generation of kids won’t even know what I think they are missing. They have no idea that there used to be another way to celebrate.

How does your school district handle snacks/treats? Do you appreciate this trend schools are showing to accommodate food allergies and restrictions? Do you have other healthy school snack ideas or other ways to make the approved snack list “special” for a birthday or holiday? Please share your ideas with us.