Like many parents, Jeff Carreira and his wife are blessed with a 4-year-old girl who happens to be a very picky eater. Sure, they try to get her to eat a well-balanced diet, chock-full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, but it doesn't exactly work out that way. For the most part, Jeff and his wife are just happy when their daughter Abigail eats. So, to ensure that Abigail ingests something at school, Jeff and his wife pack her foods they know she likes. Things like spaghetti, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or chicken noodle soup typically make their way into Abigail's lunchbox. "She’s not really into fruits and veggies right now, so we do the best we can," Carreira said. "She’s a very picky eater."
But the Carreiras' efforts to keep their daughter, um, eating while at school have been thwarted, as they just received a note saying parents are no longer allowed to pack their kids' lunches, unless to accommodate an allergy or religious restriction. In so many words, the school said that parents weren't providing their kids with healthy enough lunches, and typically they "do not include the minimum required food groups for nutritious meals." In so many other words, the school said that they know what's best for the kids as opposed to the parents.
To say that school lunches aren't, and shouldn't be, one size fits all is stating the obvious. In a dream world, pre-K children would happily chow down on green veggies and wash them down with shiny red apples, but that isn't the case. Of course, we as parents want our children to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, but sometimes the only thing they'll eat is pasta. What's better: For a growing child to eat pasta or nothing at all? Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but don't schools realize that, for the most part, of course parents would include a pile of kale if their children would eat it?
When it comes to children's diets, parents should have the last word, not schools. Aside from the fact that they're their kids, no one knows a kid's eating habits better than Mom or Dad. They're the ones who have been feeding them from birth; they're the ones who are with them for the majority of meals. It's admirable that schools are concerned about "the lunch boxes [that] contain only snacks," but hey. Snacks are better than nothing.
Do you think schools should have a say in kids' lunches?
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