THE BLOG
06/24/2014 04:38 pm ET | Updated Aug 24, 2014

Reinventing School Snacks?

As the mother of three teenagers, life is always interesting. My two girls are ages 18 and 15 and were both adopted from China as infants. I, unexpectedly, conceived after our first adoption and was blessed with a son -- who was delivered between the two adoptions. We learned early on that my son was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum and later, with Asperger's Syndrome.

Now, as a single mom of three teens, drama abounds quite often these days -- with or without a teen who has special needs. Thankfully, the first round of college applications and deadlines has passed, and my eldest will be off in the fall to Emerson College, both her dad's and my alma mater. She survived the prom and came home safely (thank God). My son is campaigning to get his learner's permit (please, save me), and my youngest daughter is dyslexic and extremely bright, but needs Chinese tutoring twice per week. Do you see the irony of this?

Yesterday, mid-work day, I received an email from my 16-year-old son Noah's school nurse. The gist of the email was evident in the subject line -- "(son's last name): Purchases at school store."

At first, I was wondering if he had run up a tab buying school-related clothing, binders, book bags, backpacks, etc. Not the case. The email explained that it was brought to her (the school nurse's) "attention that over the last couple of weeks he has been purchasing two Gatorade drinks, two packages of sour gummy candies and two packages of cookies per day."

Okay, let me explain that this is a school for kids with learning challenges, due to their unique disabilities. Personally, I had no idea -- nor did my son's father -- that he was consuming this much junk in a day at school, in addition to the healthier lunch he brings. Secondly, why would a school (one especially that caters to kids who might not have the best impulse-control when it comes to these things) offer such high-sugar, empty calorie kind of snacks?

Furthermore, in reading the even number (two) of each of the preferred snacks my son purchased -- it further spoke to me as issues related to his obsessive compulsive disorder, common among kids on the spectrum and with other personality attributes. Jeezsh!

Her email continued to state,

Although the store is open to students to purchase snacks, the amount being purchased was concerning; especially given the amount of sugar in each item. Please know that over the summer, the school will be revamping the store to offer more healthy choices to students.

I guess at a minimum, the snack options will be reinvented over the summer to offer these kids more nutritious "snacking" options. Honestly, I had to laugh when I got the email, but I'm grateful for the heads up -- as I'll be saving about $10 a day on junk food purchased at the school store.

After discussing the issue with my son when he returned home from school, he quickly explained that he will not continue to buy any more junk food at the snack bar. Excellent news. He also wondered if he should see a nutritionist -- so there goes my $10 per day savings.

There's a reason I have been called a Reinvention Expert -- I've earned it through life experience and the school of hard knocks, or in this case, one gummy bear at a time.