Did you hear or read about the Chicago school that has banned homemade lunches? “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Principal Elsa Carmona told the paper of the years-old policy. “It’s about … the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke.”
Each mom I have spoken to about this thinks it’s a horrible idea. Yes, moms appreciate the convenience of the hot lunch system. But we don’t want a school dictating that it’s the only system.
Aside from the fact that the meals are terrible (Aaron’s school’s menu for April is to the right) and sparce, Moms don’t want anyone dictating to us what is the right thing to do for our children. This might be where we draw the line.
As one mom suggested, the schools are trying to change roles. They want to parent and they want us to teach. If you’re a parent of a school-age child, you understand that statement. Suddenly the schools are full of advice on how to raise your child–full of suggestions of the “right” way from well-meaning staff members–while parents are being asked to teach their children at home. Remember the last homework assignment that came home that your child was clueless about? That’s what I’m talking about.
But this homemade lunch ban has baffled me. Yes, my kid goes to school every day with a sandwich and chips. He’s the world’s pickiest eater. He was getting hot lunch, but we had to put an end to that because he was using his allotted lunch money for the month in one week buying chips and cookies. Apparently he’s not ready for money management and budgeting.
I do know kids who bring spectacularly prepared meals from home. Thermoses of hot foods, plastic containers of freshly peeled and sliced fruit. Apparently, these are kids who understand the concept of returning everything home at the end of the day.
Still, my kid’s meal of ham, bread, and a single serving of chips has to be better than the processed crap being served to him as a hot lunch. For instance, the chicken nuggets: I saw a video of how the meat is extruded from the bone to make these. After the taffy-pink meat is bone free, they have to add coloring back to make it beige so it’s pleasant to the eye. Then they add chemicals to make it taste like chicken. I don’t even want to know what’s in a rib sandwich. I’m betting they’re not real ribs though.
I know that “childhood obesity” is the new buzz phrase in our society. Please, oh, please! Save the children! Chemicals are better than real food that might be fattening! But…we don’t have any money so we have to cut out physical activities like PE and after-school sports.
It makes me sad that feeding the children has become a battle ground. What do you think?
For another insightful post about this subject, please visit Ragen Chastain’s Dances with Fat.