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There’s a new petition on Change.org that you’re really going to want to sign. The petition was started by Leah Segedie, in order to make sure that bubble gum flavored apples are kept away from our kids. Let me repeat that – bubble gum flavored apples. The apples, made by Crazy Apples are, according to the company, “100% natural, whole apples, flavored on the inside.” So far the apples are available in the above mentioned bubble gum flavor, along with tropical blast and pomegranate grape. According to Sage Fruit Company, the apples are also available in “Limited-edition holiday and seasonal flavors.” Holiday flavors? Like what? Candy cane and Thanksgiving yams or what?
In any case, Segedie noticed that the School Nutrition Association simply adores the idea of these candy flavored apples, so her petition asks the USDA Food & Nutrition Service & the School Nutrition Association to avoid putting flavored Crazy Apples into school lunches. Are you curious about how Crazy Apples are flavored? We are too, but good luck finding out. The Crazy Apple company isn’t talking. In fact they literally say on their website, “We can’t tell you exactly how we do it,” although they do note that the only thing they add is, “100% natural, zero calorie flavoring and a wallop of fun. ” Whew! That’s good to know, since the term, “natural” means absolutely nothing and, “Wallop of fun” isn’t exactly backed by science either. Actually though, I don’t care if Crazy Apples are packed with normal, non-toxic flavors. The issue here is what we’re teaching our kids about food.
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Crazy Apples says their morphed fruit has no added sugars or calories, which appears to be backed up by their nutrition label. The company also claims that the apples are non-GMO, something I seriously doubt, as these apples are not organic and I can’t find them in the Non-GMO Project database. Still, there’s likely worse food you could feed your kid. However, my problem with these apples is that there is something inherently shady about tricking kids into eating fruit with claims of candy flavor. What happens when you raise a kid on a steady diet of bubble gum apples? I’d guess they’ll expect candy flavored produce for life. Guess what though? REAL fruit is not bubble gum or grape flavored – well, unless you’re talking about grapes. What will your kids think when they grow up and have to make food choices on their own? Will they only look for the sweet fake flavored fruits at the store and then not buy any produce when they can’t find them?
Kids deserve to know what real food tastes like. This is part of how kids learn to make healthy food choices. A kid raised on fake foods will want fake foods. This is akin to Fizzy Fruit in my mind. What’s Fizzy Fruit you say? Last year a school kid I know told me her school gave her Fizzy Fruit in her school lunch. This kid tells me, “Fizzy Fruit is fizzy like soda pop!” Honestly, I thought this kid was pulling my leg, so she challenged me to look it up online, and lo and behold – Fizzy Fruit not only exists, but many schools serve it to their students. According to the company, “Fizzy Fruit branded sparkling fruit is fresh fruit that has been carbonated to intensify that particular fruit’s flavor with fun and effervescence” – the idea, much like the idea behind Crazy Apples is to motivate kids to eat fruit. Lame. I know first hand that if you raise a child on fresh, not over-cooked, not over-seasoned produce, they’ll eat it. They may not eat all of it, but if you mix it up and try different produce, they will eat some of it.
I’m not against treats for kids, but treats should be treats and fresh produce should taste like fresh produce. Kids should know the difference. With childhood obesity rates higher than ever, the last thing we should be doing is giving kids produce that fizzes like soda or tastes like candy. You want your child to like the taste of real, healthy food, not healthy food flavored like junk food. What’s next? Bacon flavored apples? Chocolate carrots? Caramel broccoli? Seriously? Go sign the petition to keep candy flavored fruit out of school lunches.