It was only a matter of time really. Our kids come home from kindergarten telling us that we're not as smart as the teacher. Now a Chicago school has told all parents they're too dumb to craft a healthy enough lunch for their kids. They've enacted a school-wide ban on the homemade lunch.
The kids now have the option to buy lunch or ... well buy lunch (unless they have a medical condition and a doctor's note). And all this is in the name, of course, of making the students healthier. Let me be the first to say bull-pucky! If I can't make healthy enough food for my child, pray tell me, why are you even letting me be her parent?
Are you going to take her shoe shopping too? How about finding an orthodontist? Paying for it? Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm not responsible enough to take care of my kid ... until it starts to inconvenience them.
Making all kids eat school lunch is easy for a school. There are no fights between the haves and the have nots. No separate lines for the "buyers" and the "carriers." And the cafeteria has an almost exact count for food orders. No more wasted food. It's perfect really -- for the school.
But the news that a school building could be better able to meet an individual child's needs is more than a little ironic considering schools are being called out more and more in recent months for painting kids with a broad brush rather than attempting to work with the individual. And what is a one-size-fits-all lunch program other than a washing away of a child's individual needs?
Take, for example, the way we balance our kids' food, meal to meal, snack to snack. It's a process for most parents. We know that Little Johnny had yogurt for breakfast, say, so we don't want too much dairy at lunch because too much dairy makes him impacted. It's not a major medical issue -- so no doctor's note -- but it's something you work on because you're a good Mom. But oh no, there goes that careful plan, Mom, because every kid at school is getting a nice, healthy box of milk for lunch. So much for knowing YOUR kid!
And we all know school food is healthier, right? Land of the ice cream treats at snack time and the hot meals that include a hamburger, fries, and a veggie (yes, fries, the other vegetable). I wish I was kidding. One of the scariest lunches on my kid's school lunch menu gives the kids the option of "mozzarella sticks, fries, veggie." So, kids, gather round for some starch, some fat, and, heck, we'll throw a vegetable in there. But who needs protein?
It's no wonder news of this ban came out in the Chicago Tribune just as the folks at Pew and Robert Wood Johnson have come together to release a poll about school lunches and how much Americans hate them. In fact, 78 percent of American voters (that's about three out of four Americans) "believe that schools should be required to meet higher nutrition standards for all foods they serve or sell to students." This from a new poll conducted by the bipartisan team of Hart Research and American Viewpoint and commissioned by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project.
Most Americans don't think schools are feeding our children well, and schools want to jump on their high horse and tells us they can do it better? Yes, there are parents who absolutely stink at making lunch. Bans on soft drinks wouldn't be such a bad idea. Maybe a request that kids have only one "junk" food snack in the lunchbox? But don't tell me I'm not responsible enough with my kid's health if you can't do any better.
Has your kid's school tried this? What's the response been like?
Image via juliejordanscott/Flickr