This is for all you parents out there who think my kids are from another planet because they ask for “greens” on their breakfast plate and fermented sauerkraut with their lunch.
I can’t remember the last time I bought something from a vending machine, but I can remember the thrill of buying something from one as a kid. Well, I am looking at this frankenfood holder once again, but now through the eyes of my own kids.
The boys participated in a sports camp this past week where they had the option to bring a snack from home or buy a snack from the “Healthy Vending” machine. For the first three days, they brought their own. But, on day four they asked, “Mom, can we have some money for the vending machine today? They have some healthy choices.”
Hmmmm. I knew it was inevitable at some point and I knew that “denying” them the exploration of the foods that scare me can certainly backfire down the road. Vending machines are everywhere, and the temptation for a quick snack to eat before a soccer game, or on the go, will come up many times in the future.
So, I said, “Yes.” We talked about why vending machine foods may not be the best foods, which choices may be better than others, and how this was an “okay every once in a great while” type of decision. I was hoping we could also weave in some lessons, including cost, the value of coins, and leftover change.
I left the 6 year old in charge of the 4 year old (helping him make sure he had enough money for the choice(s) he wanted when it was time for the big purchase) and they were off and running to play soccer, baseball, frisbee and of course jump in the bouncy house.
When I came to pick them up, I asked how camp was, what they did and what their favorite part was? They answered and then were ready to tell me about snack time. My oldest was prepared to confess that his little brother probably made the better choice with a Zbar and pretzels in comparison to his “giant” cookie;-)
I’m not sure it was all they thought it would be cracked up to be, but I’m sure it won’t be our last vending machine discussion.