By: Krystle Crossman
A mother in South Australia sent her three-year-old to preschool with a slice of leftover chocolate birthday cake. What her child came home with was a bright red note that told the mother she was not making a healthy choice for her child and to send healthier food with her child to school the next day. The mother felt bad for breaking the food rules in the school but her friend became upset when she was shown the note that was sent home. She posted it on social media and said that she told her friend to send her daughter with two slices of chocolate cake the next day because it is not up to the school to decide what their child eats. Schools have been making rules and enforcing them much more in recent years trying to give children healthier options. Many parents are saying that if they want children to eat healthy they need to offer up better lunches at the school itself.
The south Australian preschool followed the stoplight method for determining food guidelines. The green light is healthy foods such as raw vegetables and fruits. Yellow light foods are foods such as certain types of chicken, hamburgers, and food like hot dogs. Red light foods or any type of sweet foods, high fat foods, or anything with loads of sugar. The red foods are a category that parents are not supposed to bring to school however the lines are very blurry because every school is different with what they allow to be brought into school. There have been parents who have sent their children to school with home baked goods such as zucchini brownies that were sugar-free and those were sent home stating that they were in the red category simply because they were called brownies. It can be confusing for many parents because they never know what they are allowed to send with their child or whether their child is even going to be able to eat the food that they are sent to school with.
There are many schools in the US who are adopting healthier choices in the cafeteria for children who eat their lunch at school but there are still many schools that do not have the best foods for students to eat. Childhood obesity is a very real problem however parents are upset that the schools feel that they are allowed to tell parents what they can and cannot send for lunch when the school itself is not providing healthy lunches or snacks for their children. Many schools such as high schools in the US have vending machines in them that provides soda, ice cream, and chips or sweet snacks. Some schools have done away with these vending machines all together.
Do you feel that schools are overstepping their boundaries by sending notes home with parents telling them what they can and cannot send to school with their child for lunches?