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Why I Refuse to Let My Kids Eat School Cafeteria Lunches

cafeteria school lunch
Antibiotics, GMOs, and junk food ... oh my! There are just too many questionable ingredients lurking on the typical cafeteria tray for my taste. Even though it would save me precious time, I just can't let my kids eat school cafeteria lunches.

All right, I am biased, perhaps traumatized is the better word, from my own memories of "Lunch Lady Land" (still one of my favorite songs by Adam Sandler). The hot dogs were so bouncy I swear they inspired the crumping trend. The mac and cheese didn’t move ... even when pierced with a fork (repeatedly). The soggy tater tots were considered vegetables. The only green I saw was the money in the cash register. It was unappetizing, to say the least.

While I realize things have changed in the wake of Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity -- which shaved some calories off school lunch meals, emphasized whole grains over white flour, and added a little more color to the plate -- I still know many kids have a king-sized bag of chips for lunch and pocket the rest of their parents’ money. Firsthand knowledge ... from my kid. She says sometimes her friends break it up and have chips and a cookie for lunch. Even better.

When I pack lunches, I know what’s in there, and that gives me peace of mind. I am pretty sure my kids don’t trade their food with friends, dump it in the trash, or secretly resent me for being a ‘mean mom’ (not for my stance against school lunches, anyway). They subscribe to the ‘food is love’ mentality because I have brainwashed influenced them.

Berries should be organic because they soak up pesticides like moisturizer. Hot dogs should just disappear. (What’s in them, really?) Veggies should be a staple, not a guideline. I take the time to pack nutrient-rich choices that fuel their minds and bodies ... with some (preservative- and high fructose corn syrup-free) treats to keep it kid-friendly. And they eat it up.

Do you let your kid eat cafeteria lunches?


Image ©iStock.com/asiseeit 

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D.j. Lord

the kids are dumping michelle's stuff-a million kids off the lunch rolls- and your kids are dumping your stuff

D.j. Lord

the kids are dumping michelle's stuff-a million kids off the lunch rolls- and your kids are dumping your stuff

Pinkm... Pinkmommy0211

News flash......your kids are trashing your stuff....



Bring back the old school lunches please.



My child barely eats the school lunches.

nonmember avatar Marina

Ok, I've been in high schools with the new lunch plan. Still looks absolutely disgusting. I watched countless kids eat only the apple or sweet potato fries, then trash the rest. The food was frozen and sometimes you could tell it hasn't been thawed out enough. I remember seeing the difference between freshmen and seniors. Freshman tried to be cool and not carry lunch bags, but at least 1/3 of upperclassmen packed a lunch! And most of the rest got chips from a vending machine. Baked chips, mind you. Health plan in effect.

nonmember avatar angela

I packed my kids lunch everyday until he finally told me about the stage in the cafeteria. That is where everyone puts the food they don't want to eat. And also he would come home starving. He confessed he threw away his lunch cause he didn't feel like eating it. Then I got the bill he was using the school lunch card like a credit card. Since a majority of the school eats school lunch he wanted to be like his friends.

youth... youthfulsoul

My kids eat school lunches. We had a great salad bar at my cafeteria 25 yrs ago. Loved eating it.

Jennifer Lynn Leible

I think Michelle Obama's plan is too strict. Wheat bread for every meal (even pizza and biscuits) is ridiculous. Kids should be able to have some white bread too. Don't make them hate all their lunches!

balan... balancing-act

We do about 80% school and 20% packed lunch. We post the calendar menu and he picks days the school serves things he likes and days he doesn't I make him a sandwich fruit and crackers.

nonmember avatar Jenn

I was a packed-lunch kid. It only ever went in the trash if it was the same-old, same-old. Keep lunches healthy and interesting, listen to your kids' food likes and dislikes, and TEACH THEM how to eat healthy at home from the start. Of course this isn't going to stop the Coke, pizza and french fries from making their way into your kiddos, but it will at least give them a better foundation to grow from.

nonmember avatar Julie

Self righteous much?

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