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Freedom to snack

It’s that time of year again. Time to buy roughly 15 gallons worth of Halloween candy. If you are like me, you tell yourself it’s just in case trick-or-treaters come by, but deep down you really know it’s to consume copious amounts of Reese’s and Milky Way Midnight Darks.
Halloween has always been my favorite pastime. I rarely miss a trick-or-treat opportunity, and luckily with young cousins I still get to relive the childlike wonderment of trick-or-treating.
One thing I have noticed in the past few years is a growing trend in “healthy treats.” Back in my Ariel and ribbon dancer days, you typically had only one annoying neighbor who would give out apple slices in lieu of Milk Duds. Today, you will find several shamefully healthy households on your trick-or-treat route.
This anti-delicious candy movement is not limited to just Oct. 31. As America’s waistline expands, there have been recent federal regulations put in place to help curb our cavity-producing appetite. Should we be granted the freedom to snack?
In 2010, first lady Michelle Obama introduced the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
This act, among other things, is designed to create school lunch and breakfast programs that will improve nutrition for American school children. School meals will now be in line with current nutritional standards, meaning whole grains, portion control and more fruit and veggie options.
The reasoning behind it is that kids get the majority of their meals at school, and whether they live in a healthy household or not, every student should have access to healthy food when in school (more information regarding the act can be found at www.fns.usda.gov). While I agree with the reasoning behind the act, my inner school kid screams, “NO MORE CORNDOG NUGGETS?!?!”
However, these golden, greasy delicacies are a warranted casualty with one in three American children being over overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association. Excessive weight at young ages leads to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood as well as a wide variety of health issues that were previously not seen until adulthood (www.heart.org).
By providing healthy lunches in schools, hopefully kids will develop more healthy lifestyles that they will carry through into their adult lives. Children don’t have the capacity to regulate what they eat or the information to make sound nutrition decisions.
While it pains me that kids might not get to enjoy Sour Punch Straws (strawberry is the best) during Field Day or a Blue Bell ice cream sandwich alongside cheesy chicken over rice, the governmental regulations are in place to help build a healthier, slimmer future.
So, if you have some trick-or-treaters show up at your door, give them the good stuff because they are actually having to learn to eat their vegetables.

Anna Rush is a second-year law student from Hattiesburg. She graduated from Mississippi State University in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @annakrush.