Editorial: Banning desserts isn’t way to make students healthier

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

With a new rule banning all desserts in one elementary school, kids cannot have their cake and eat it too.

Over the past few months, federal school lunch organizations have worked together to create an overall healthier cafeteria lunch for elementary and secondary students across the nation. However, through banning potatoes in all cafeterias and regulating what children can and cannot eat, those associated with these school lunch programs have opened the doors to ridiculous and overly strict rules and regulations.

To be more specific, Northeast Elementary Magnet School in Danville, Ill. has now established a rule that students cannot have any desserts in the cafeterias. That means cookies, cupcakes or any other sweets that students bring or buy at school to have during lunch, even for a birthday celebration or as a reward, are not allowed. Students are also required to exercise every day.

It sounds like a smart idea, but the school administration is using illogical means to reach a reasonable end goal.

When people, especially children, are told that they cannot have something or that they cannot do something, they are most likely going to rebel and do the opposite. It’s human nature. Denying students desserts at lunch is definitely not the route that needs to be taken.

Instead, offering healthier dessert options and giving children a choice in what they would like to eat would be the better method of ensuring and instilling a healthier lifestyle in today’s youth.

Teaching children and young adults about the great variety of healthy alternatives to a cupcake or a cookie at lunch can increase the knowledge of much healthier eating styles, which will eventually lead to healthier practices of eating foods that nourish the body than hinder it.

This youthful generation will have more cases of diabetes, heart disease and obesity than any generation before it; something must be done to solve this problem. Denying and taking away comfort foods and things they enjoy will not accomplish this goal. Our nation needs to be smart and tactical in trying to change the eating habits of its youth.

Although the elementary school has received the gold award from the Alliance for a Healthier Nation, the program will not be as successful throughout the nation as it is in this one school.

This may be an excellent and successful program for Northeast Elementary Magnet School, but that same success will not disperse throughout the nation. There needs to be a modified plan of action to implement healthy eating styles.

Banning something that children enjoy, especially around celebrations such as birthdays, will not be an effective action plan to alter the eating habits children have today.

Northeast Elementary is on the right track to teaching its students how to live a healthy life through exercise and nutrition, but completely denying sweets and junk food from cafeterias is not the best means to reach that goal.

Alternatives such as healthy desserts or lighter versions of classic comfort foods or things considered to be junk food give students a choice in what they eat, allowing them to learn more about healthy food options.