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It's More Expensive to Buy an Unhealthy Treat

A tried and tested way to have a healthy birthday celebration for your child.

February 8th, 2012

Birthday season in school: think lots of cupcakes, decorated cookies, donuts.  One of our children has been offered a large Krispy Kreme® donut over 10 times already this year at school as a birthday treat. And it's only February! That's approximately 200 to 300 calories per donut, with 9 -30 grams of sugar (most, per the website, have 250 to 300 calories, and 20 to 30 grams of sugar). And that's on top of our child's regular breakfast, lunch and snack. The USDA advises minimal sugar intake in children but allows up to roughly 10 percent of kids' daily calories as sugar—120 g of sugar per day in a typical 1,200 to 1,400 calorie daily diet for kids ages 4 to 8. And if one donut has 20 to 30 grams of sugar, then your child has just rapidly used up a significant portion of that daily 120 grams!

QUIZ: How Much Sugar & Fat Did You Eat Today?

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It's More Expensive to Buy an Unhealthy Treat

So...it was recently my turn. Should I do what most of us think is the easiest, and cheapest, choice: just pick up something? After all, thirty children plus a few extras...potentially a lot of time and money, right? No! I decided to embrace wellness every day, even for birthday treats. And guess what? I saved money, and probably even some time! I go to the grocery store at least once a week, so after my child requested fruit kebobs and a small piece of chocolate, I bought the ingredients at the store when I was already there. Check. No extra trip to get a fancy dessert. Alas, I was pressed for time, so I purchased pre-cut fruit, as well as a package of grapes. Grand total: $16.41 for all of the fruit, plus 99 cents for the bamboo skewers and $7.98 for two bags of Dove milk chocolate caramels = $25.38.

MORE: Eat Healthy for $30 a Week

I called Krispy Kreme to inquire about price: the lovely gentleman suggested that I purchase three dozen (cheaper by the dozen). Each dozen = $9.49. Grand total: $$28.47 + tax. So far so good. Now, what about time. It took 30 minutes to wash the grapes, cut the pre-cut fruit a bit smaller, and skewer them onto the bamboo skewers. For purposes of comparison, I drove from my home to Krispy Kreme: Seven minutes each direction (14 total), plus the time I would have needed to wait in line (yup, what diabetes epidemic...there was a line...) to order and then wait while they packaged the three boxes.  My assumption: the whole trip would have been at least 30 minutes, the same time it took me to make the fruit kebobs.

But the best for last: Imagine what the platter looked like: beautiful kebobs with grapes, melon, strawberries, pineapple. (Color! Fresh! Appetizing!)  I carried the platter into my child's classroom and suddenly heard a collective gasp. The kids looked up from their worksheets, saw the platter and got so excited. Who knew? A rush on the kebobs. The plate was empty faster than they could sing Happy Birthday.

So...go for it today. Make an activity healthy. You might just surprise yourself, and those around you. Now that's everyday wellness, every day.

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