For the last three years I have had to prepare lunch for my son to take to school with him. I always sent him a warm meal, in a thermos, usually comprised of leftovers or something that I would cook for him before school in the morning. I stood in the kitchen lovingly cooking his lunch every day. The only rules the school had were no nuts or candy. OK – easy enough, considering I always include fresh fruit and a salad and since I am conscience to buy organic whenever I can, I knew that he was having a balanced meal that was healthy and included some of the vital nutrients that his growing body needed.
This September, he started first grade, and the school rules changed. I am no longer allowed to pack his lunch, and he HAS to eat from the cafeteria.
The first graders need to learn responsibility and proper nutrition, so part of that lesson is allowing them to choose their food themselves.
I wouldn’t mind if they had the same organic, fruit and vegetable laden options that I would provide, but they don’t. Apparently they get organic “when they can”, and they try to make the parents feel better by saying that there is a “salad bar” available to the kids with baby carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs and such available. They also have a “sandwich bar” where the kids can have their choice of bread like white sliced bread, bagels, whole wheat sliced bread, etc. (my kids have never had white sandwich bread in their life). They have cold cuts (I don’t ever buy cold cuts at home, since they are full of nitrates and sodium, if anything I would get fresh cooked chicken or turkey and slice it for a sandwich), and butter and jam available. They always have some kind of breakfast cereal (non-organic, mind you), and milk, juice, chocolate milk available to drink. Now to be fair, they have a “hot food bar” available as well, where the kids have a selection of hot foods available usually consisting of some protein, starch, vegetable, a soup, perhaps some pizza or pasta. (more…)