A young mom packed her son a well-balanced lunch, or so she thought. Shockingly, the school sent it home and claimed it was “unhealthy,” leaving the mother baffled.
Laura Lee knows that getting a young child to eat healthily can be a challenge, but the young mother thought she was doing a good job. She was stunned when her 2-year-old son’s nursery school seemingly disagreed, sending back home a portion of the meal for being “too unhealthy.” Their reason shocked Laura and even made her a bit angry.
Although it’s understandable that there is concern surrounding the amount of sugars that kids consume, Laura Lee feels this school went too far, and others seem to agree. “I sent my 2.5 yr old son to school with this and the cookies got sent home because they’re unhealthy,” Laura Lee wrote, accompanying the remark with a photo of the lunch she had packed for her toddler. “There was 3 MINI cookies.”
Her comment was made in response to a Plymouth Live story posted on Facebook. In the article, teachers talked about the most unhealthy school lunches they had witnessed from their students. When Cornwall Live posted the story, the page asked its readers to submit their own examples of terrible school lunches they had seen. But, Laura Lee went a different route, pointing out a lunch that she felt shouldn’t have been a problem.
It was obvious the mother put a lot of effort into packing for her son since the meal included cucumber slices with the middles cut out into cute little flower shapes. To most, the lunch would seem pretty healthy with two compartments full of fresh vegetables. So, the question becomes, if the toddler eats some of the rest of the lunch, are three mini cookies really a big deal?
When I went to school, lunches often came with a dessert, and it wasn’t always fruit either. Should all sweet desserts and sugars now be forbidden? Perhaps this is a case of a few bad apples ruining the entire bushel. “I work in a nursery and believe me, I have seen some terrible packed lunches in the past!” one commenter said in response to Laura Lee, proving that what’s packed in lunches has been a problem. Expressing their shock that anyone could consider Laura’s lunch unhealthy, he added, “This looks perfect to me!”
Of course, black and white rules are easiest to enforce. So, it’s possible the school decided “no cookies” in response to “terrible packed lunches” they were seeing. We can only speculate. Regardless, viewers didn’t see an issue with what Laura Lee packed for her son. “Looks like you took time and effort to his lunch ‘fun’ and appealing,” wrote Susan McGowan. “Absolute rubbish that he wasn’t allowed to get those small cookies. Everything in moderation surely.”
Others pointed out that the lunches served by the schools are often much less healthy than the one seen in Laura Lee’s photo. “Amazing, when a child’s free school lunch can have a syrup sponge and custard for a pudding,” Stephanie Hughes said.
Laura Lee isn’t the only parent who’s been shocked by what their child’s school returned after deeming it “unhealthy” either. After saying the meal “looks great and well balanced,” Christina Robinson admitted, “My son’s drink got sent home because it was fizzy, it was sparkling water.”
After decades of advertising sugary foods with campaigns aimed at children, the pendulum has swung the other way as a movement geared toward getting kids to eat healthier food has taken root. Schools have responded by encouraging both kids and parents to choose healthy lunches with more veggies and other nutritious options instead of the heavily sweetened treats children tend to prefer.
As a result, some schools have taken extra steps, monitoring the content of parent-packed lunches and prohibiting certain foods, which seems to be exactly what happened in Laura Lee’s case. Many parents, however, don’t support their children’s school taking on such a role. “Schools should concentrate on teaching and not being the lunch box police,” wrote one commenter. “No good being skinny [and] fit but finish school knowing nothing.”
It’s commendable to want children to be healthy, of course, but does it have to be all or nothing? Isn’t moderation the key? It seems a blanketed ban does leave very little grey area and is the course of action some have chosen to take in order to make enforcement easier.
Along those lines, an anonymous individual pointed out, “I think parents often forget their child is not the only one in the school, and rules are implemented to make everything work as well as possible.” But, easier to enforce doesn’t mean it’s always what’s best. As a treat at the end of a meal, are a few cookies a big deal?