When I was a primary teacher, I hated having to tell children that they couldn't eat a certain type of food in their lunch box, because it was against school policy, and now as a parent, it absolutely riles me when I'm told by kinder or crèche that I can't send a particular food for my child.
Both our children were born with a genetic metabolic dietary condition called PKU. It is a life long condition that requires them to eat an extremely restrictive diet - they are only allowed to eat between 4 - 7g of protein a day. If you think of an egg having 6g, it might give you some idea of how restricted their diet is. In addition to this, they must drink a prescription formula several times a day. All their bread, pasta, rice, flour must be ordered from overseas, and EVERY single food I feed them, must be checked to make sure that it doesn't exceed their daily protein allowance.
Because of this strict diet, my children often have to eat food that may not be deemed 'healthy', but in fact, it is healthy for them and in fact, the healthier alternative could actually be detrimental to their health. For example, a serve of rice crackers or rice cakes contain more protein than a homemade ANZAC biscuit using their special flour. So I've had to explain to kinder and crèche that my children need to be allowed to eat their 'unhealthy' foods - my daughter's pre-school was not at all co-operative and said she couldn't eat the food. Fortunately she was a great fruit eater and I could send that as a snack, but our son is a very fussy eater (made all the more difficult by his condition) and refuses to eat any fruit. If I didn't send the 'unhealthy' biscuits, he'd go hungry and I will not allow that to happen.
Sometimes the rules just have to be bent and those who don't like it should just keep their mouths shut and be grateful that they're not dealing with such a difficult dietary condition on a daily basis.
Last edited by siansmum; 29-05-2014 at 19:22. Reason: Spelling error
I am a preschool director and see appalling choices coming in children's lunch boxes on a regular basis, if a child came with a lunchbox full of great choices and one bad choice we would ask them to eat the good stuff first. If it was a really out there bad choice like lollies, chips or chocolate we pop it back in their lunchbox and say that's food for home. If they are still hungry we have some healthy choices available at preschool and check them against children's dietary needs. This is very clear in our policies, families get a copy of our nutrition policy and sign that they will follow our policies when they enrol. If we have a 'repeat offender' we might pop a quick note in their lunchbox with some healthier choices on it.
I understand that families usually do it due to convenience and lack of awareness of nutritional content but I always hear oh what about a treat, why? why do they need a treat every day? We have this idea that we are doing something special by providing a treat but the truth is we are setting them up for poor lifelong food habits. I hope it is having a positive influence on their lifelong habits, we have a number of families saying it has a positive flow on effect to their school age children.
Oh, and I love homebaked foods (still no lollies, chocolate etc in it), I just remind families to try to adapt their recipes to limit the amount of salt, fat, sugar.
We also encourage families to use some online tools like calorie king to check salt/fat/sugar content and there is an awesome app for smartphones from Bupa called Food switch. https://www.bupa.com.au/foodswitch
You just scan the barcode with your phone and it rates the food and provides a list of healthier alternatives.
As I said earlier, common sense should prevail. Obviously a lunch box packed with sugar and rubbish every day of pre school is not good, and probably warrants a gentle word with parents. But I believe in moderation in food, and ultimately I'm the parent. I don't do it out of laziness or lack of information as you say. I do it bc I was raised by a parent that was overly strict with food and I think it's not a good thing.
One packet of snack sized Thins in amongst healthy food is not going to hurt them. And if their lunch contains a vast majority of good food, as the parent I should be able to send that.
I don't have school aged kids yet so honestly don't know the guidelines but this is where I get lost - the ingredients in BBQ sakatas are atrocious
INGREDIENTS: Rice 93%, vegetable oil, sugar, 3 flavour enhancers 621 627 631, hydrolysed vegetable protein, flavour, spices, salt, garlic, mineral salt 341, onion powder, worchestershire powder, anti-caking agents 504, partially- hydrogenated soy oil, acidity regulator 330.
There is no way msg and partially hydrogenated soy oil could be put on a healthy list for kids?
Just wondering if a child brings a full fat yoghurt e.g greek yoghurt with shredded coconut do you consider that against the guidelines?
A low fat vanilla yoghurt would have considerably more sugar than the above option (the low fat option has 21g of sugar per 200g more than the greek yoghurt).
See I would send my child with the above option as I consider sugar to be the problem rather than fat (and I have research articles to back me up). In that as sugar intake increases so does risk of heart disease etc.
I make ETA Chocolate cupcakes for my kids that have zero fructose, grain free, and are full of fibre and healthy fats, yet they would ban them in favor for a low fat commercial snack item.
Anyway I am so glad I my kids are at school and this is no longer an issue for me.
Last edited by PomPoms; 29-05-2014 at 20:43. Reason: Didn't make sense
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