After a recent rant to her kids about how unhealthy soda is, Kate Sullivan Morford was feeling like a hypocrite. After all, she enjoys an occasional glass of the stuff on hot days or out at the movies. Still, her words resonated. Post-rant her youngest daughter stood before her with a clipboard, a pen and the following statement:
Only Morford and the drafter of good intentions signed the document. The rest of the family took a pass. Just hours later, only Mom was still soda-free. The girl’s grandparents had taken her out and the siren song of a Shirley Temple was irresistible.
Two things: Grandparents are the great underminers of good health. And “never” is a very long time. I only rarely drink soda, and if I do it’s always zero-calorie. But signing up for never is certain failure. Plus, it’s not really the goal, is it?
When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg cracked down on Big Gulp’s, he wasn’t trying to keep people from ever drinking sugary, fizzy drinks. Rather, he was trying to get people to pay attention. The problem though with Bloomberg’s effort and that of Morford’s daughter is that soda is no longer the only sugary beverage around. The average American imbibes a lot of her daily caloric intake and we push a lot of that onto kids. Coffee drinks, Snapple ice-teas, Gatorade, even juice are all but ignored in debates about healthy snacks and meals, but have you ever read the labels or the hidden brochure at the coffee bar?
Does that mean I think Morford’s daughter should have gone for more and pledged to never drink anything but water or black coffee? No, not that either. What I think Morford’s daughter saw was that it’s hard to give up stuff you like forever. But thinking about doing it? Not such a bad thing. I think it’s great that her daughter even thought it would be possible.
Do you let your kids have soda? Do you keep it in the house?