We've always thought packing yummy, homemade lunches for our kids was a healthy move, but a public school in Chicago is taking away that option. Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side is cracking down on brown bagging it—students must purchase the $2.50 school cafeteria lunches unless they have a doctor's note or an allergy. (Or unless they qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.)
"It's milk versus a Coke," principal Elsa Carmona said, adding that her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices. And indeed, food-related policies in schools like this are often designed in an attempt to combat the country’s growing childhood obesity epidemic; many schools have banned bringing in sweets for birthday celebrations or in lunches, while others have removed soda vending machines as well as chocolate milk and fruit juices from school cafeterias.
But what about those of us who weren't packing soda in our kids' lunches? As this school lunch blog points out, the food they serve in cafeterias isn't always delicious or nutritious. Some kids might opt out of eating all together if the food isn't up to snuff—and omitting the midday meal for growing, energetic kids is a non-option.
Plus, what if we are okay with our kids drinking a Coke with lunch every once in awhile?
This scene described in the Chicago Tribune made me laugh:
Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school.
"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?" the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English.
Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: "We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!"
Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: "Do you see the situation?"
See? What happens in our school cafeterias is a huge policy decision that is riling up parents, school leaders, and even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. “Everything worth talking about in the Food Revolution is all about mums, " he said. But at the end of the day, it's the kids who are eating the grub.
Would you be peeved if your kid's school banned packed lunches, or do you think it's a healthier move for everyone?