The battle for healthy lunches has been an interesting one in recent years. From Jamie Oliver and his reality series to Michelle Obama’s school lunch project, the conversation over what our kids eat and how it impacts their learning and behavior is a big one. Diet is important.
You think parents, who often have to fight this battle at home, would appreciate a school working towards healthy lunches at home. Isn’t it the Bible that says “one can’t live off bread alone”? In today’s culture, we could add “nor can you live off a pack of chips.”
One mother in the English town of Stoke-on-Trent has gone to a battle with the school over their requirements for healthy food.
She is resistant to to having to send her kid to school with fruit, veggies, and bottle water while the canteen or cafeteria can still serve battered fish and muffins.
Bernadette Finnegan took her concerns as far as the head teacher who promised her a meeting. Days later, she received a note stating that “Following legal advice we are issuing you with an interim ban from the premises immediately.”
This has made pick-up and drop-off difficult for her as she has to wait by the gate for her children to come out of the school. Additionally her son has recently been diagnosed with autism and she worries how this will impact him.
Her son’s diagnosis makes her stance on healthy lunches even more interesting. While the scientific evidence is incomplete, many claim a healthy diet can help control autism symptoms.
Finnegan says that children were having lunch boxes searched. She also claimed that to earn ten extra minutes of play time, the kids were encouraged to pour out their juices.
“One parent was particularly unhappy with this and unfortunately and sadly this has escalated,” head teacher Linda Williams said. “We have offered to meet with the parent to talk this matter through and we would still like to resolve this issue amicably.”
The town council made its position clear in a statement: ‘We would always hope that schools and parents can resolve disputes amicably. As an employer we do not tolerate the abuse or intimidation of our staff.”
It was not clear from published reports what behavior was thought to be intimidation.
“Contrary to how it has been reported, our school meals provider has a silver award for its healthy menus and all recipes are adjusted so that they have just 1.4 per cent sugar,” Williams said.
In the United States, former First Lady launched the The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Criticisms aside, it was determined that because of it, children had more access to food during school hours and had an increase in six nutrients: fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein.
The program was recently discontinued. Eating healthy is an essential part of our health and wholeness as people.
A good, solid diet can help children learn, and addressing the systemic issues of hunger allows us fully support children as they grow up.
I hope everyone who reads this is a person who would fight for their kids to have healthy lunches — in school or in the home. It could just make all the difference.
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