Start the day with a special breakfast, different from a week day breakfast. Follow that up with a treat for davening nicely. Head to shul groups and wash down a plastic cup full of assorted candies with a cup of grape soda. Add a cookie, coffee cake (or two) to your chullent at kiddush and grab two lolly pops from the shul candy man (to eat at the same time, of course!). Head home for lunch, followed by some of mommy’s yummy home baked goods and the candy gift from a guest. And now that it’s 3PM and all my friends are here, it’s time for you know what: Shabbos Party! Hand over the plate full of treats.

Sound familiar?

As hard as we try to feed our kids healthy food, on Shabbos it’s a challenge. Shabbos should be special. And we’re too busy or too tired to argue every time our kids are tempted by treats (which is all day).

But we’re not doing our kids any favors by letting our guard down for one day of every week. Many kids in our Orthodox Jewish neighborhood are overweight or obese. A 2006 survey of Chicago’s Orthodox community–a project of the Jewish Federation and the Sinai Health Systems, found that 54% of our kids are overweight and another 26% are obese. The obesity percentage is twice as high as the general population (13%). The survey is what spawned the Jewish Day School Wellness Survey that is making headway in our schools.

In our family, we attempt to battle the barrage of treats with a few rules. I can’t promise my kids don’t ever break them, but we try our best, right?

1. One shehakol and one mezonos at shul. Anything else the kids collect from groups goes home for later.
2. At home, Shabbos lunch dessert all summer long has been an awesome frozen banana dessert, with no added sugar.
3. Shabbos party only occurs when my kids ask for one, which does not always happen. If it does, I put out popcorn, a big plate of cut up fruit, one mezonos and one shehakol that they saved from shul.

popcorn kernels, usually from the bulk food bins

Line the bottom of a non-stick pot with kernels and add oil to just cover the layer. Sprinkle with salt and cover. Cook over medium-high heat until the popping slows.


2-3 over-ripe bananas
2T cocoa powder
T peanut butter (optional)

Creme the bananas in the food processor until they are liquidy and add the cocoa and peanut butter. Freeze and eat like ice cream when somewhat thawed.

2 thoughts on “Shabbos party dilemma

  1. Nice post, Wendy! Great “food for thought” – helpful suggestions.
    I make that frozen banana concoction sometimes too – fresh out of the blender it’s just like soft-serve.

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