Schools Ban Homemade Lunches…Moms React

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.


6 thoughts on “Schools Ban Homemade Lunches…Moms React

  1. You really want me to start in on this? Okay. It sucks! I pack my kids a pretty healthy lunch every day. I make sure they have at least a protein, a fruit and some kind of treat. They might take a sandwich, a yogurt or some cheese and crackers. My kids HATE buying lunch at school. They say it’s gross and my 11 year old is always complaining that the school lunches are unhealthy.

    Now, I do understand that some school districts across the country DO serve healthy food. Ours doesn’t happen to be one of them. Remember the hoopla about Jamie Oliver NOT being allowed into the Los Angeles Unified School District because they were afraid he would “expose” things? Yep… now you get it. What are they so afraid of? Apparently the fact that they serve crap to our kids.

    Yes, I agree that the schools (and government) are trying to take over the parenting role in exchange for the teaching role. The hell with that. I’ve always said that once the school starts telling my kids how to live their lives, that is the day that I pull them out and homeschool them. I think that day might be coming soon.

    • I’ve thought many times over the years that homeschooling had to be better than dealing with public school. Aaron even begged me to homeschool him at one point.

      xo Susie

  2. Wow! This is absurd. If they really want to ban soft drinks and junk food then do it, but don’t tell me that my kid has to eat fried and processed crap because it’s “better” for them than what I’ll provide. How insulting!

    • I would absolutely support a ban on the junk food in the cafeteria! Why are there vending machines in there? I’m not sure if the kids can access them at lunch time.

      Once the kids get into high school I understand that I lose complete control over the lunch issue. Heck, as a teenager I lived on zingers. One of my best friends only ate cafeteria food when there were mashed potatoes.

      xo Susie

  3. Not allowing a parent to choose how to feed their child lunch is nonsense. I am a parent and a teacher. My kids buy hot lunch maybe once a week. Their options are decent. But wow to look at that lunch menu…gross! Nachos, corndogs, “ribs”…what is nutritional about any of that. Maybe some kids don’t get anything other than a coke and a candy bar from home and those are the kids they are trying to help, but still how can them make it mandatory for kids to buy hot lunch? What about kids with allergies or special diets? I love Food Revolution and I agree that many hot lunch programs are na-asty!!!!

    • I think at my son’s school (is it like this everywhere?) that kids who can’t afford lunch are given lunches. I can understand a school intervening in that instance. But to make hot lunch a requirement?!

      xp Susie

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