My 3-year-old daughter is a pretty picky eater. Her diet is mostly limited to peanut butter and jelly, pizza (without the cheese) and pasta. She won’t touch meat of any kind, milk or cheese. Thankfully she loves every kind of fruit and will also devour peas, edamame and carrots.
My husband and I don’t get crazy over what we think she might be missing in her diet. Her weight is perfectly normal and we figure she eats when she’s hungry and it’ll all even out in the end. That being said, we are careful about what we give her at each meal to ensure she doesn’t eat too much, say, fruit (if left to her own devices, she’d eat it all day long, and you can imagine what happens as a result). We try to look at the big picture of what she has eaten and will eat over the course of the day and make decisions about each meal accordingly. She doesn’t eat much, but much thought on our part goes into what she does (and will) eat.
We also don’t get crazy about what she eats when she’s not with us, like, say, at a friend’s house or for a snack or special treat served at school. That being said, what would make us crazy is if some pseudo-authority figure at her preschool took away what we packed her for lunch and replaced it with what they deemed to be better for her. That would make us crazy.
Don’t think it can’t happen, because it did. To a preschooler in North Carolina.
A state agent was inspecting lunch boxes at the West Hoke Elementary School and deemed that one student’s packed lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, apple juice and potato chips “did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines,” according to Fox News.
So that lunch was taken away from the student and instead, the kid was given chicken nuggets. And guess what? The kids’ parents were billed for the replacement lunch!
The decision was said to be made “under consideration of a regulation put in place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services, which requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs to meet USDA guidelines.”
Child care providers are required to “supplement” any “required” items that are missing when necessary.
I know, I know, apple juice and potato chips are hardly healthy. The bread might have been white instead of whole wheat. The sandwich had cheese on it. And unless the turkey was fresh-roasted breast meat, it can be filled with sodium.
But on what planet is a fried chicken nugget any better than anything in that lunch? Or considered healthy? Even if the meat is organic, it’s still fried! At worst, I’d call it a wash.
And maybe, just maybe, couldn’t they have let the kid eat the home packed lunch that day and sent home a note to the parents advising them of the problematic items and let them know in the future such meals would be replaced?
What am I missing here? Because it seems pretty black and white. And pretty damn stupid.