Conscious parenting is about caring for the whole child: body, mind and spirit. Some days, the body needs to come first. Do you know what your child is eating for lunch today?
School lunches are scary
If, indeed, you are what you eat, my kids are pepperoni pizza. Or possibly Tater Tots.
I’ve been waffling for about two years now, not sure how I wanted to approach our local school district; reluctant to get drafted for another committee, but consistently horrified by what I see on the lunch menu — when I am brave enough to look.
For example, the menu for next week includes cheese pizza on Monday, nachos with cheese and “cheesy refried beans” on Tuesday, grilled cheese sandwiches on Wednesday and a cheeseburger on Thursday.
What’s up with all the cheese? When did nachos become a meal?
I am afraid to visualize cheesy refried beans.
Friday will apparently be the healthy day, with “chicken sticks in a boat.”
Yes, I know I could send their lunches from home, (sometimes I do.) And people with peanut butter swirl ice cream in their freezers probably shouldn’t throw stones, but come on.
I should mention that our school district has a “wellness committee” and I do believe they have good intentions. All the major food groups are represented and nutritional information is included on the menu. Some sort of fruit and vegetable are served with each meal.
Still, the details are important. When I read our school lunch calendar, what I see are loads of fried foods, refined sugars and starches, sweetened fruits and the ubiquitous carton of milk, which according to my sons, is typically of the sweetened, chocolate variety.
And that nutritional info? It is reported as a weekly average, so you have no idea what each meal contains. If you are looking for an actual ingredients list, it ain’t there.
The topic is fresh in my mind because our school district is currently conducting a survey, to identify parents’ and students’ opinions of the school lunch program. Finally, the perfect opportunity to have my say: I have responded with gusto, adding as many comments as space allowed.
What would I like to see more of?
Fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole grains. Lean meats and healthy food combining. Options for dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian meals. Educational programs and a school-wide focus on healthy eating.
My younger son wants a sandwich and salad bar, like the one at his older brother’s school. (Why limit healthy options to a certain age range?)
What would I like to see less of?
Fatty and fried foods. Refined sugars and starches. Wheat and dairy. Packaged and processed snacks.
Any other suggestions?
Make the teachers and school administrators eat the same lunches that are served to our children.
Oops. Now I’ve gone too far.
I know this is not an easy fix. I’m sure there are dozens, if not hundreds of rules and regulations involved, all designed to keep our kids safe while we feed them junk. Yes, I could boycott school lunches all together, but that wouldn’t really help much.
I am regarding this survey as the universe’s call to action. It is time to speak up and get involved. The good news is, our school system is looking for input from parents and students alike.
The bad news is, I sense another committee in my future.
Your conscious parenting challenge for today:
I invite you to take a closer look at your child’s school lunch program and decide if action is required. Maybe it’s time to speak out.
Has your school district already implemented something healthy, new and creative? Please write in and share it with our readers. We could all use a little inspiration!
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About the Author:
Meg Brown is a former corporate executive and single mother of two gorgeous sons. She writes about conscious parenting, mid-life mommies, adoption and her own journey to wholeness at her website, Consciousfamilyjournal.com