Monday, June 10, 2013

What's for Snack?

At the beginning of the school year I wrote a post called What's for lunch?   I talked about my inferiority at the school lunch game.  I have three kids, a full time job, responsibilities...and while I would love nothing more than to cut my kids sandwiches into dinosaurs and make elaborate snacks with fruit the simple fact is I choose to overdo it in other venues  (you'll find out all about that when you see the cakes I'm making for Emily's graduation and my class's graduation.)

Here's the thing. I try not to judge other parents. To each his own - I'll raise my kids, you raise yours. But after spending 9 months feeding my own children and seeing what the kids in my class bring for snacks and lunches, I can't just say nothing.

Picture this in a typical child's lunch bag.

Bologna sandwich for lunch, sugary drink, chocolate, gummy candy, a cereal bar and an orange.
I'll get you'll never guess which of these items, for 90% of the kids out there will come home uneaten (or thrown out at school so Mom doesn't know it wasn't eaten)
And of those foods which one do you think will be eaten last (besides the offending fruit)  Probably the bologna sandwich. Why? Because what kid would chose a bologna sandwich over a hunk of chocolate, a sweet cereal bar and gummy candies. Not many that I know.
I see this kind of thing in kids lunches every single day.
What's worse is I see kids lunches that look like this.

I'm not really sure which of these was supposed to be the 'lunch' food. The yogurt tube?
Here's the thing. I understand that kids are kids. Most of them, if given a choice are going to choose Oreos over apples everyday and twice on Sunday. Shit, I would too if I wasn't already tipping the scale.
We all know that kids need a balanced diet to stay healthy and moreso they need this balanced diet throughout the day to keep their minds sharp for school.
It's been proven that sugar does not make kids hyper.  I agree, it doesn't. But it does make them fat. It does cause tooth decay, it does set them up for healthy problems down the road and it does fill them with empty calories rather than the nutrient rich food they need to grow and develop properly.
Remember the movie Field of Dreams....."If you build it, they will come."
If you send it, they will eat it.
So don't send the crap.  Johnny isn't going to eat 6 Oreo cookies instead of his apple if you don't send the Oreos! Susie isn't going to drink 3 sugar filled juice boxes if you send her a bottle of water instead.
And guess what else, they won't trade their friends for shitty junk food because I can promise you - Freddie isn't going to trade his Fruit Roll Up for Johnny's apple.  And in the long run, Johnny will be better off for it.
I wish parents would stop for a second when packing their child's lunch and think not about what their child wants but what their child NEEDS. That is their job as the parent.
I had two parents this year complain to me that their child was coming home with their lunches still in their bags, uneaten. I told them point blank why that was. No child is going to eat lukewarm spaghetti or a cheese sandwich over fruit loops in a Ziploc bag or gummy bears. So send your child a nutritious lunch and two (yeah TWO - not five) healthy snacks. Fruits, veggies, yogurt....
My kids have been bringing this type of this all year long for lunch. I'm sure they've begrudged me. I'm sure my 13 year old has talked trash about me, moaned and bitched. I'm sure my 10 year old has wished she had chocolate pudding too. I'm sure my 5 year old wonders why his friends are bringing chocolate chip cookies and he's got sugar snap peas.
And my answer is this. I am your parent. I am responsible for keeping you healthy and strong because you are not yet mature or reliable enough to do so yourself. And until you are - I will continue to send you apples and carrots with water for snacks. And you'll eat it because there are no alternatives in your lunch bag.
And after you've come home and had your well rounded supper you will then indulge in a bowl of ice cream or some potato chips. Because I want you to be healthy - but I'm not a monster. 


  1. It's scary isn't it? Balance is the part people dont get right, that and the fact that they're too busy. Too busy to take care of yourself and your family? I know how expensive it is, but the new answer to "why can't johnny read?" really is "Because he's full of sugar, chemicals and dyes"
    You are what you eat is not just a cute old time saying...

  2. Yep, seen these same types of lunches at Nora's preschool. The teacher would regulate lunch and not let them eat the 'trash' food before eating the 'growing' food. The worst lunch I saw was Oreos, stick cheese, Cheez its and a juice box.

    I will admit to sending Nora to school with plain pasta and a bowl of applesauce, the all beige pallette is surely not appetizing. That is on my worst mommy morning.

    And I hated my own mother for not buying Little Debbie snacks and lunchables, but as an adult/mom I can now appreciate it.