The night before our children start a new summer camp, I look at the instructions.
Bring a towel, swimsuit, water bottle, and lunch. Don’t pack any sugary snacks.
Immediately my hackles go up.
Here’s the thing. I am absolutely on board with ensuring the health and safety of the other campers by keeping common allergens out of our lunchboxes. No peanuts? You’ve got it. No tree nuts? Done. Food allergies are a matter of life or death. Without question, we will be as careful as possible with that.
But the “no sugary snack” rule for a summer camp? That’s just someone trying to tell me how to feed my children. That I don’t know best how to meet my child’s needs. And that’s not OK.
The rest of the day of camp? Swimming and playground time and crafts and songs and whatever else? That’s for the camp leaders to plan. I entrust that to their care.
But the lunchbox contents? That’s my turf. If I want to slip a sweet dessert into the mix for my child, I will. In fact, now that I’ve seen the rule, I’m determined to. Seeing that proclamation in the information packet makes me want to pack a whole sleeve of Chips Ahoy. Or maybe two or three.
Don’t worry. I always make sure our boys have protein and fruit and plenty of good food to pick from. They take smoked salmon and edamame and cold noodles and hard-boiled eggs and berries and grapes and apple slices. I also give them something crunchy and something sweet.
They eat good food.
They also enjoy their treats.
They are thriving.
And I am their mother. No camp rules are getting in the way of my methods for filling the lunchbox.
For a split second, I think maybe the camp is concerned about my children’s health. Then I turn to the next page of camp info and see that the snowball truck is stopping at the camp the next day. Our children love snowballs. But I’m not sure there’s a more sugary snack on the market today—except maybe sugar.
So, as I thought, the camp isn’t worried about my child’s nutrition. They just don’t want me making these decisions for my child.
So before our children head out to camp, I slip a handful of Oreos into each lunchbox. Then I add some chocolate-covered breakfast bars. Because who even knows what a sugary snack is? How is that defined? Doesn’t an apple have sugar in it?
There once was a mother who packed
Her child a sweet sugary snack.
Though his camp was chagrined,
Her child giggled and grinned,
For his lunch was an M&M sack.