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When Big Girl went to preschool, I sent a snack for her every single day. EVERY day. I wanted nothing to do with the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers that the school doled out. Thinking back, I was probably extremely forceful about it. Extremely. That’s why, when Little Girl walked into the classroom last week, the teacher looked at my empty hands with an inquisitive face. “Are you still all organic,” she wanted to know. “She can’t have Goldfish, right?”

I felt sheepish and stupid and uncomfortable all at the same time. How crazy was I that this teacher remembered our deal four years (and probably 150 kids) later? I shudder when I think about how I probably made that teacher feel way back when. “Yes,” I said. “we are still all organic, but it’s okay. She can have the occasional Goldfish cracker.” The director was standing there listening. I looked over and felt like I had to explain. I told her something that most parents of more than one kid have probably said: “I’ve mellowed a bit with the second one.” She smiled and made me feel better by telling me quite honestly, “That happens a lot.”

So why have I relaxed my stance on Goldfish? Here are the ingredients in the cheddar version:

Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Cheddar Cheese [(Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Salt], Vegetable Oils (Canola, Sunflower and/or Soybean), Contains 2 Percent of less of: Salt, Yeast, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Leavening (Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Bicarbonate), Spices, Annatto (Color) and Onion Powder.

It doesn’t seem all that offensive. Are Goldfish crackers organic? No, but a handful here and there isn’t going to hurt my kid, either. Now, let me add that the cheddar ones are the only flavor I will feed Little Girl. I hate the colorful ones — my kid doesn’t need artificial dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Red 3, and Blue 1), thank you very much. My husband likes the pretzel ones, but I think they are too hard for a toddler. Definitely a choking hazard. And the flavor blast version? I want my child to like subtle tastes and textures. There’s no need to give her that much salt and flavoring.

Still, I decided that I was going to be a good parent and help the school out so we went shopping yesterday for healthy snacks. Little Girl was allowed to pick out five bags and boxes to bring into the classroom. She picked some organic cheddar duck crackers, Earth’s Best Organic Sesame Street Letter of the Day Cookies, a bag of organic raisins, some Pirate’s Booty. This morning we delivered our little care package to the school. (And as a result Little Girl got to be the snack helper today! She was thrilled!) Plus, now I don’t have to think about Goldfish for a while. That’s a really good thing.

This post is how I am participating this week in Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays — two awesome campaigns to get people eating real food again.

4 Responses to “Goldfish Aren’t Necessarily Evil”

  1. Christy says:

    This post made me smile – it is true we do mellow a bit with more children. I like to think I have learned what battles, ideas, things, attitudes, actions etc are important. (I have 8 kids) I now have to worry about not becoming so mellow that my youngest ends up a with a too lax life.

  2. MarthaAndMe says:

    I definitely relaxed the rules with the second one too. I think it’s almost impossible not to!

  3. Christina says:

    So true! I know I’ve gone too far when I do buy a bag of goldfish and she obsesses about them.

  4. kb says:

    Yes, that’s why I don’t really restrict anything. I just find a healthy alternative. I’m in the market for healthy Swedish Fish right now. Any ideas?

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