Hands off children’s lunchboxes

Photoshopped image credit: Technomage

Let me admit, it is a long time since I put together a child’s lunchbox. In those days, sandwiches (made out of anything I could find in the fridge) a small bag of potato chips and possibly a piece of fruit were the normal contents. I was working full time in those days and was very short of time for baking or doing anything special. The same applied to shared lunches. When other parents baked delicious muffins, I was lucky if I could find an unopened packet of biscuits in the cupboard…particularly as I usually found out about the shared lunch at 10.00 the night before.

Parents these days are certainly no less busy than they were 15 or 20 years ago, so I can’t imagine that the problem has improved much. Nowadays though, parents have to put up with an extra bit of stress: the lunchbox Nazis in schools.

Lunchbox Nazis

So this article will probably find many sympathetic parents agreeing wholeheartedly with the sentiments, particularly as we all know that feeding children can be a minefield at the best of times. quote.

It seems like every week there’s news of a school declaring it’s their place to decide what children eat, to the extent that they’ll stop a pupil eating the food their parent has sent them to school with.

These wellness initiatives brought out by schools seem to have very little scientific research to back them up. According to one parent on Facebook, their child’s school has deemed homemade biscuits awful but decided shop-bought muesli bars are okay if they say “now with extra fibre” on the packaging. end quote.

Not to mention an absolute ton of sugar at the same time. quote.

What a parent feeds their child is a personal decision and one that needs to stay within the realms of parenting. Schools are crossing boundaries and overstepping the mark. They need to take a good few steps back.

Food is personal. Food is so personal that I’d argue it is borderline private. It’s definitely none of anyone’s business other than a) the person paying for it and/or b) the person eating it.

Sending food back is insulting. I was always taught any food is better than no food and throwing food out is incredibly disrespectful to those going hungry. end quote.

I didn’t realise that schools actually did this. Talk about mixed messages: on the one hand, we are always being told that a large number of children go to school without lunch at all. On the other hand, schools police lunchboxes to the extent that they refuse to allow children to eat what is in their lunchbox if it is deemed insufficiently healthy.

Watch out for a huge spike in eating disorders as these children become teenagers and young adults. The confusion they must be experiencing over food is just monstrous. quote.

Schools do not exist to shame children. A child’s right to enjoy a lunch break without being bound to school rules is something worth preserving.

And no one has been convinced to adopt healthier habits by being bullied and shamed into them, as opposed to being educated about why they should do it. end quote.

Children can be notoriously fussy eaters. From the baby food made out of vegetables that is spat out unceremoniously, to delving through their plate to pull out the hidden bits of broccoli, feeding children can be difficult at the best of times. Getting them to eat a wide range of foods, instead of skipping the main course and eating only ice cream, can be a struggle. Teachers must know this. Of course they know this.

So it is tempting to come to the conclusion that this whole thing is more about control than health. Most teachers are in unions, of course, and the various teachers unions are recognised as the most militant in the country. Could it be that this is just another ploy to control the masses…one ginger nut biscuit at a time?

I was told by a doctor not to worry too much about what children ate, so long as they got exercise and fresh air. It is true that there are more obese kids than there used to be, but that is more likely be the result of little or no exercise than poor food choices. Once you start to see how everything these days seems to be designed to control the masses, however, you cannot unsee it. Teachers have absolutely no right to decide what other people’s children should eat. The fact that they think they do indicates that policing lunchboxes is all about control, not health.