Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Dana a fellow blogger from My Hot Pink Apron and we got to chatting about the school systems and lack of attention to the right kind of nutrition information being presented to our children. Now I understand that kids have peanut allergies and most schools have adopted a no nuts mandate but come on – since when should the fact that an item has a “no peanuts” symbol constitute a “good” snack.
Of course a lot of this can be dictated by the teachers and school staff and of course lead by example at home BUT, like society in general a matter of convenience has been inflicted on us parents – especially ones that do try to eat healthy, whole foods. The message that the kids are getting (even in a household like mine that promotes healthy eating) and that is being enforced by teachers and school staff alike is that if its nut free its ok to take to school – therefore must be a good snack/lunch choice.
Case in point, my daughter was in JK last year – her teacher had a rule of no (items that spill) in the classroom – which is fine, however, they also want items that the kids can eat quickly, bring their garbage home with them (don’t even get me started on the excess garbage we go thru because everything has to be individually wrapped with the no peanuts symbol), and the kids can open without help. Still ok and easy – ya right! – for a week or month or two – then the kids boredom with a granola bar (never mind its frowned upon to send “homemade” items as the school wants to see the no peanut symbol) – and a fruit with water. Veggies and Dip are out – dip spills, as does hummas, yoghurt, yogurt tubes, applesauce etc.
My daughter who loves to grocery shop with me – we were shopping for something new for her to take in her lunches – and she picked up a bag of “Fudge-o” cookies and insisted that she could have them because “Look Mommy – it has the no peanut symbol on it!” …. this coming from the little girl that knows that too much juice is not a good thing – “Too much sugar – right Mom” and that junk food is a treat “Oh Mommy I think my tummy hurt/arm hurts/head hurt whatever) because of all that “junk” I ate earlier/yesterday etc….” and likes sandwiches with “just salad (lettuce), tomato and meat”. Neither of my kids will touch white bread as they’ve only grown up on rye or pumpernickel.
What is wrong here? Why is it so difficult to access good information – why isn’t there a “nutrition & our youth” portion of the school curriculum? money? time? resources? Myself – I’d love to be invited to my daughter or son’s class room to do some one on one experiment with the kids – how much sugar is there in a cup of juice? a can of pop? chocolate milk? So why is it so difficult to gain a platform to speak to the kids in a school setting? How about a after school or evening workshop for parents – How to make 15 easy interchangeable lunches & snacks? hmmmm?
In these days of convenience and time/resource restrictions and social economic pressure – shouldn’t we be encouraging our youth to enlist their parents in buying from local farmers, and supporting local business and creating good snacks from whole food and especially in the very young – instill good eating habits and choices to help our youth educate themselves and grow into confident young adults ready to make their own choices.
So I leave you with this question – what are you putting in your kids lunches this September?
I love to hear your comments/suggestions- please feel free to leave a reply!
Like this post – check out Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – can’t wait for it to start again for a new season!