We were at The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour last week, such a hoot, and took the kids back a couple of days later to the water slide park they have there. Also a hoot.
More so for Tilly who tore down the biggest slides possible while Henry was much more reticent and preferred to sit at our picnic table and nibble rockmelon.
So while Adam went up and down enormous water slides with our adrenaline-junkie two year old, I sat with Henry at the picnic table and thought about food. Not unusual for me.
On our table Tammy and I had food for five small kids. Rockmelon, multigrain vegemite sandwiches, corn thins spread with hummus and as a treat, muesli bars.
Pretty typical, right? Probably what you're feeding your kids as snacks.
Just a little way off on the table next door was a big plate of lollies. Two plates of chips. Hot dogs. Red cordial. Henry kept a covert eye on the feast and would have insinuated himself to the party if given half a chance.
Because it was a party, the kids, older than ours, came leaping off the waterslides and onto the treats. And they were big kids. And I don't mean age-wise. Interestingly the two supervising adults weren't, but the 7 or 8 kids all were.
It bugged me. I still can't articulate why. It's party food at a party, each to their own and all that. Except pretty obviously we have a problem with heavy kids. And who can say what these kids are eating for recess and lunch but somehow I'm doubting it's fruit and crackers and the occasional yoghurt.
Is the problem more input or lack of output?
And I found myself talking to Tam about it afterwards, wondering whether working women just get so sick of putting steamed chicken and vegetables in front of whining children when they know if they deliver chips or pizza they'll be thanked.
I felt like garroting myself. So it's women's fault? Childhood obesity is the fault of worn out working women??
Of course it isn't.
And of course it's not about apportioning blame, it's about everyone making fresh good food choices. Which is what Jamie Oliver tried to do in English schools and what canteens around Australia are attempting to do. Wouldn't it be interesting to review school canteens by area and see if the quality of food offered is even.
My friend Estelle gave me a fabulous book last Christmas called Eating Between The Lines: Food and Equality in Australia which I thought was very interesting although I felt the research didn't go far enough.
It's something I'd like to do a lot more reading on.
One thing worries me though: it's so much harder to swap kids from chips to carrot sticks at 10 yrs old than at say, 3. We control their food in the early years, although I'm careful to stress that women are not responsible for this health epidemic. We tend to shop, prepare and serve.
Maybe there's a way to make it easier for people. 'Grub Organics' weeks-worth-of-snack-boxes? Organic, additive-free, low sodium, low sugar, low fat snack options.
Maybe a party pack option.
Hey, there's a business idea in that.