by Jeanne Sager
My daughter got off the bus the other day as mad as a wet hen. I'd packed her lunch -- as I always do -- and I'd included a small treat, a lollipop, as one of her two snacks. I thought I was doing something nice for my hard-studying kiddo, but it turns out I'd just cheated her out of one of her snacks for the day. She told me she's not allowed to have candy at lunch time.
Coming from a school that sells ice cream and cookies in the cafeteria, I'm not sure it could get much more hypocritical.
To be honest, I've had this happen before. Every year, usually around Halloween, when I'm trying to break up that huge bag of trick or treating booty into small "everything in moderation" portions, the kid comes home in tears because I forgot the "rules" (rules that aren't in the school handbook -- yes, I checked). I slip in a treat, and she comes home upset that a lunch monitor decided to pass judgment on my parenting.
"You have to send something healthy, Mom!" she'll tell me. Huh. I thought the (antibiotic-free, humanely raised) turkey on whole wheat and the string cheese met that criteria. Not to mention the (BPA- and phthalate-free) bottle of water.
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We pack healthy lunches in our house. We have a healthy kid. So I have a hard time with the sugar police stopping her from the occasional lollipop or Hershey's kiss, even if it is on school property.
I understand that not every parent takes the care that I do to pack something healthy. But is it really anyone's business what we want our kids to eat at lunchtime? Is it up to the school to decide what is healthy and "appropriate," or is it the parents?
I might be less inclined to complain if it weren't for the aforementioned ice cream and cookies that are readily available for our kids to gobble up (at a price, naturally). Nutrition-wise, who's making the wiser choice here? One Dum Dum lollipop (which is what I sent in her bag last week) has 26 calories, no fat, and about 3 grams of sugar. It's not healthy per se, but we're talking about one small lollipop. A Fudgsicle bar has 100 calories (18 from fat), 2 grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar.
Come on, folks. It's a school; I'd hope SOMEONE can do the math there. I think I'm making the smarter choice.
Heck, I make a lot of smart choices for my kid, day in and day out, from bedtime to what she wears to what sports she plays and on and on and on. The government trusts me to make hundreds of decisions for her every day. But they can't trust me to know whether it's OK for her to have one lollipop with her meal?
Give me a break!
Do you send candy in your kids' lunch? Is it a problem for the school?