A new study says parents aren’t packing nutrition in their kids’ lunch pails. We’re packing what we know our kids will eat.
Can you blame us? We don’t want to hear from our daycare providers
that our kid was the one throwing a fit at lunchtime. And we don’t have
time for the “sneak it in there” recipes in all the parenting
magazines. So we cut corners. We pack a fruit cup rather than cutting
up fresh fruit, because if we chuck in an apple our kids are going to
moan about the peels and the teachers at daycare aren’t likely to sit
down and peel it for them. We pick up crackers with the processed
cheese of our childhoods, and we close one eye so only the words “whole
wheat crackers” register.
According to the study in the January issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, seventy-one percent of packed lunches don’t have
enough fruits and vegetables. One in four preschool kids don’t get enough milk with lunch.
with parents revealed more than sixty percent were packing foods they
thought were nutritious – but not expecting their kids to eat them.
More than sixty percent also packed foods they figured the kids WOULD
So what’s the trouble? It’s hard to track what your kids are doing
out of sight. You can balance how much “good” and how much “bad” they
eat at home during dinnertime, but kids don’t have that guidance at a
daycare center. It sounds like parents are giving their kids too many
choices. If you know they will overeat on snacks, don’t pack them. Are
we really afraid our kids will starve if we give them choices of
healthy vs. nutritious?
It’s their first shot at learning to eat well and make healthy
choices outside of the home, but they’re still little kids. They still
need some guidance from Mom and Dad. When we’re not there, that means
making the tough choice for them.