Two Lives, One Lifestyle

The Starbucks Cupcake Incident by Katie
April 30, 2010, 11:46 am
Filed under: Cupcakes, Katie, Nutrition

This article about children being likely to eat healthy food if they were given healthy food (thanks, Summer Tomato) and The Fitnessista asking if your kids [will] eat like you reminded me of a 2 minute conversation I overheard recently.

I was sitting at Starbucks doing some cover letter writing and a mom walked in with her 2 daughters: one was probably 5 and the other was at most 2 years old.  They were talking about the fun books they just bought, and I thought “awww that’s sweet, what a great mom!”

The mom started to order, including 4 Starbuck’s cupcakes, and the 5-year-old interrupted.  “Mom can I get this banana for a snack instead?”  The mother grabbed the banana out of her daughter’s hand and very firmly replied “NO! You’re getting a cupcake! You don’t need that banana.”  The little girl looked embarrassed for basically getting yelled at in front of the whole shop.


They sat down and the mom fed each daughter (one of them was still in diapers okay?) a whole, big Starbuck’s cupcake.

My initial reaction: This is TERRIBLE! What kind of parent denies their child a banana and forces them to eat a cupcake?  Isn’t this completely backward? Shouldn’t she be thankful her kid wants a banana rather than dessert in the middle of the afternoon? The whole scene stuck with me and just kind of bothered me for the rest of the day.  Well, apparently it is still bothering me.

I’m not against letting kids have delicious cupcakes or other snacks but do they really need a huge one from Starbucks as a random afternoon snack? The size and nutrition stats on many of their baked goods are scary enough for an adult.  Plus, the little girl wanted a banana!

I don’t want to judge other people and their decisions; I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt- for example, maybe it was her birthday? But this seemed borderline outrageous since she was asking for fruit.  I was pissed at the mom.  I was disappointed in the lack of nutrition education that we have growing up. I was angry with the way this country treats the production and consumption of food. It was like the culmination of all the backwards, screwed-up eating standards in this country.

I debated throwing in this detail, wondering about it’s significance to the situation: the mom was very obese to where she had a lot of trouble walking.  The 5 year old was overweight.  If I had just seen them wandering around the book store, this wouldn’t have phased me. Tons of skinny looking people feed their kids garbage too.  But I’d be lying if  I said that detail didn’t lead to some speculation about the (lack of) healthy habits these little girls were being taught at home.

I wasn’t about to step in and tell a mother how to do her job or lecture her about the nutrition and health issues that were coming to mind.  Plus the blame can probably be partially passed on to the food industry or marketing or whatever else impacts our eating choices.  Instead, I just BBMed my sister and talked about it with her because I was practically bursting to get someone else’s thoughts.

How would you have reacted to this?  Do you think I’m being harsh or overreacting?