The cupcake isn’t the reason why America’s youth is fat, says managing editor Marina Mayer. So then why do schools want to ban this delicious treat from their classrooms?




The Cupcake Controversy

As the summer neared its end and teachers prepped their classrooms for back to school, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the fun things I looked forward to when returning to school.

Seeing my friends.

Reading new books (nerd alert right here).

Going to birthday celebrations.

Ahh, the birthday celebrations, ya know, where a room mom would bring in treats, albeit cupcakes, cookies or a big cake, to celebrate that month’s birthdays. I have fond memories of my own mother volunteering to bring in the homemade dessert. It was a mini field trip without the bus ride.

Apparently, that was then, and this is now.

Now cupcakes almost need a background check and a security clearance to enter many of today’s classrooms.

According to a chapter in Stuffed, An Insider’s Look at Who’s {Really} Making America Fat, written by Hank Cardello, this particular saga is called the “cupcake controversy.” America’s kids are fat so schools are banning cupcakes and other noteworthy delicious treats from classroom birthday celebrations as a means to curtail our nation’s obesity problem.

Wait, what?

The idea that our nation’s children are fatter than previous generations is not a secret. Let’s be honest here. A bevy of fun-filled snacks combined with a bottomless pit of video games and television time can only create a team of young, heavy-weight champions - literally.

But I’m not sure if banning cupcakes from a celebration that happens but once a month is the answer to our societal weight issues.

To assure myself that I’m not a crazed cupcake lover (well, okay, just crazy), I posted a Facebook status update surveying my teacher and parent friends about their take on this controversial, yet sensitive topic.

The results were astounding.

Some Generation X-ers believed that banning a birthday tradition is absurd, and that decisions about what children eat should be left up to their parents, not school administrators.

On the other hand, other teachers who have already witnessed the banning of cupcakes in their classrooms believe that schools need to step in and provide children with healthier options during the day because they may not receive those better-for-you meals at home.

Furthermore, this controversial topic also has some bloggers, politicians and schools in an uproar in terms of what position, if any, government and school districts should play in this subject matter.

For example, Rachel Kramer Bussel, a cupcake queen whose “Cupcakes Take the Cake” blog became a sensation among foodies, says the banning of cupcakes is an issue that’s been blown out of proportion.

“Banning cupcakes from school doesn’t eliminate the problem,” she says. “A cupcake is supposed to be an occasional treat.”

Meanwhile, states such as Florida have already banned cupcakes, cakes and other delicacies as a response to a federal mandate required by school officials to develop stricter policies for its districts, Cardello writes.

I don’t think school administrations should completely forbid cupcakes or any birthday treats. However, schools should improve their health and nutrition courses, re-evaluate their school lunch offerings and clean up their vending machine choices. In fact, my old high school just took out its vending machines, which is not an improvement since a McDonald’s resides right down the street.

Aside from our nation’s allergen and food safety epidemic, which requires some parents to only supply store-bought cupcakes with an ingredients list, the cupcake isn’t the enemy - it’s us.

So leave the cupcake alone. Our children need to be taught how to portion control their snacks and understand overindulgence, self-discipline and facts about food. Simply depriving a child of a treat on their birthday is not teaching our kids the right lesson.

Let’s instead teach America’s youth what to eat.
Marina Mayer, managing editor
mayerm@bnpmedia.com


Editor’s Note: Go to www.snackandbakery.com to read what Hank Cardello, author of Stuffed, An Insider’s Look at Who’s {Really} Making America Fat, has to say about this and other food-related issues.