Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post: Since When Did School Become All About The Food?

Cartoon by Politico's Matt Wuerker
Received an email the other day and reached out to the sender to ask if I could share. It's so frustrating that the institutions that are supposed to care about our kids the most (schools, coaches, camps, etc.) contradict their caring by being promoters and providers of junk. Sadder still that these sorts of occurrences are more often the norm than the exception:
Love your blog & book, wanted to let you know the struggles of a frustrated mom of 2 boys, 10 & 11 in Ontario who is trying to teach her kids healthy eating and moderation. Are we perfect? Not even close but we try.

True events over the last 5 weeks for one grade 6 boy.

Week 1 – hot lunch day at school – Mac & Cheese, there were leftovers so my child had 5 helpings. Hence a discussion that night about moderation.

Week 2 – EQAO testing. The tests are about 1-2 hours long. The teacher allowed the kids to bring in snacks. Then, another discussion about food choices and your performance. Plus the fact that I thought he could go 2 hours without eating. We agreed he could bring in plain popped popcorn no toppings. Did I mention the testing lasted 3 days. By the third day he asked if he could bring chips and pop because that is what everyone else was bringing in. I caved and chips could be purchased only if he bought them with his money. He woke up early the next day just so he could ride his bike to the store to purchase them.

Week 3 – Hot lunch again at school. Our school has 1 hot lunch a month plus a pizza lunch. A discussion at the beginning of the year about finances & food choices allows them to have one or the other but not both. Today it was hot dogs, cookie and drink box.

Week 4 – School fun day at lunch time. What was on the menu? Pizza, pop, jumbo freezies, chips and ice cream sandwiches. Another discussion the night before about how much money they could bring & what could be purchased. Each took $5, my youngest returned with $2 change, by oldest spent it all. 3 pieces of pizza, jumbo freezie, pop ,chips and ice cream. (He received $2 extra when a boy gave him money if he could cut in front of him in the pizza line) Hence a discussion about gluttony. And the fact that he didn’t eat any dinner and had a stomach ache.

Week 5 – School dance in the afternoon for grade 6,7 & 8. No interest in girls yet but the snack table of pop, chips and sour keys was a huge success .

Next week – Year-end trip to the movies. The note home said
the concession stand will be open if you child would like to purchase refreshments
Did I mention they are going at 9:00 am in the morning? Then another discussion about how you don’t NEED popcorn or pop in the morning. That’s OK mom he said because afterwards when we get back to school we are having a pizza party & everyone will be so full from the movies there will be more pizza for me. Then, like a broken record we repeated our discussion about moderation.

Since when did school become all about the food?

Frustrated Mother,
Melissa Parsons