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Canadian Donut Chain Launches Donut Flavoured Cereal And People Are Angry. Why I Think There Are Better Things (And Worse Cereals) To Be Angry About.

Posted January 9, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

So last week saw the Canadian launch of timbits cereal and as evidenced by the number of people have sent press releases about it to me, not everyone is pleased.

Timbits, for readers who don’t know, are donut holes from Canadian donut chain giant Tim Hortons.

People are upset because apparently this sugary cereal is over the top and somehow extra wrong or extra awful.

But why?

Tim Horton’s certainly isn’t in the business of protecting or promoting public health. Nor is Post Foods. Nor should anyone expect either to be.

Presumably the sugar is a concern for people, and at 17g per cup (4.25 teaspoons), it’s definitely not an insignificant amount, but it’s not more than many other sugary cereals, and is in fact less than Post Raisin Bran which packs 24% more sugar at 21g (5.25 teaspoons) per cup.

All this to say, it’s difficult to get angry with Tim Horton’s or Post Foods for trying to sell food as selling food is literally their only job, and frankly this food isn’t any worse than comparable foods they’re already selling.

So what should the cereal aisle make people angry about?

How about laxity in advertising laws that allows for cartoon characters to be festooned on boxes of sugary cereals and prey on children? Or laxity in front-of-packaging laws that allow Froot Loops boxes to brag about their whole grain or vitamin D content? Or the failure of our government to create a front-of-package warning system like the one that was enacted in Chile.

What would life in Canadian cereal aisles look like if we followed Chile’s lead?

Here’s Frosted Flakes before and after Chile’s laws came into effect

Sure looks great to me.

(And for the grammar police, ‘donut’ is how Tim Horton’s spells doughnut)

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Children

Teachers, Stop Teaching Kids To Reward Anything and Everything With Junk Food And Candy!

Posted December 31, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

The past 50 years of so have seen scads of unhealthy societal changes to how we use food, and near the top of that heap lies our now normalized use of junk food to reward, pacify, and entertain our children at every turn.

Take the jelly bean prayer up above. That was sent home with RD Nadine Devine‘s Junior Kindergartener in honour of Easter.

WWJD? Not that.

Or this needs-to-be-seen-to-be-believed note that was sent home with another friend’s 5 year old.

I imagine that the teachers responsible for those two examples don’t see either as unwise as why question normal behaviours? If everyone does them, they must be ok.

Yet I’d wager that if those same two Kindergarten teachers reflected on the lesson their use of classroom junk food is teaching their incredibly impressionable, young, students, they would recognize that teaching incredibly young children that it is normal to reward even the smallest of victories or celebrations with junk food is not in their students’ best interests.

Teachers, if you’re reading this, so far as rewarding kids go, it’s not difficult to do so without candy. Extra-recess, dressing your teacher up in funny clothing, being in charge of school announcements, a classroom dance party, have a class outside, hand out “no-homework” passes, stickers, bookmarks, etc…

I know that teachers care deeply about their students, which is why I genuinely believe that putting an end to junk-food classroom rewards is something that society, and teachers, can fix.

[And for some suggestions as to how you might begin to approach this with one your children’s teachers, coaches, whatever, here’s something I wrote a few years ago about shutting down your children’s sugar pushers]

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Children

It’s More Important To Teach Your Kids to Cook Than to Play Soccer

Posted December 30, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff
Photo courtesy of yoshiyasu nishikawa 

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

Yes, I know there will be people whose challenges and circumstances are real and severe enough that they genuinely can’t ensure their kids learn how to cook before leaving home. This post isn’t for them. This post is for everyone else.

For the first time in history the average American family is spending more money in restaurants than they are in grocery stores.

Kids are leaving home now knowing more about how to play soccer or hockey than they do about how to cook meals from fresh whole ingredients.

That’s so incredibly unfortunate, not only for those kids, but for their future families.

Cooking is a life skill and it’s a parents job to teach those before they leave home. If you aren’t comfortable with cooking yourself, take the opportunity to learn with your kids. Your kids learning how to cook will serve not only to help them in providing themselves and their futures with healthful meals, but will also save them money during their lean years and will likely reduce their risk of developing a myriad of diet-related, chronic, non-communicable diseases.

Whether by way of the ridiculous amount of online recipes and resources, or enrolling in a cooking course or supper club, cooking, like any skill, is obtained by way of practice. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at cooking now. Take the time, and there’s no doubt you’ll get there.

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Children

School “Hot Lunches” Are Beyond Awful. How Did We Let Them Happen?

Posted December 25, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

A friend on Twitter sent the photo up above to me. It’s this week’s hot lunch offering for his kid’s school’s kindergartners through Grade 6ers.

Hot dogs, donuts, and juice.

Really?

And then of course there’s pizza days, sub days, and various other awful food days that not only serve kids literal fast food, but in so doing also teach kids that it’s a totally normal/alright to have fast food each and every week.

Parents would jump in front of buses for their children, and yet packing them a healthy lunch everyday isn’t doable? Clearly it’s not a money thing as $5 for a hot dog, a donut and a juice box certainly doesn’t make this hot lunch a value proposition.

How did we get here as a society?

More importantly, how do we leave?

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