This post is sponsored by SquashTheBeef.com, a new social media platform that promotes peaceful, respectful community dialogue by providing an open, welcoming venue where individuals can freely express their views in furtherance of productive group discussions.
Recently I caught wind of some parenting message boards where parents are losing their damn minds over other kids' lunches being unhealthy, or that kids are being sent home with notes from school about their snacks being unhealthy. Frankly, it made me boiling mad. I'll be the first to admit that I am not the mom who takes a lot of pride in her school lunch packing skills (so to me, this is personal). Lunch is the same thing, more or less, every day and it includes a plain bagel with cream cheese and something snacks and salty and maybe a peeled cucumber or cheese. This is the lunch my child will eat so this is what I make. I don't think it is anyone's business (the school's, a teacher's, a parent's) to judge what anyone else packs for his or her child to eat at school and I am happy to have a platform where I can get other people's thoughts on this, too, over at a great new site called SquashTheBeef.com.
The good news is, it seems that a lot of folks agree that people should mind their own business and let parents handle their children's food choices individually. But of course there are always those few "troll" types on Facebook who make it their life's mission to teach the rest of us wayward parents a real lesson. And they do so by telling us how important it is that we teach our children to make healthy decisions and warn that if we (the parents) aren't doing it, then someone responsible must step in (which, I assume they mean to be the school, or the trolls themselves). Thanks guys! What would we do without you? (I guess they worry that if no one does anything, all our children will become (gasp) heavy. And heaven-forbid not everyone grow up to be lithe, Gwyneth Paltrow-esque types.
My 5-year-old is definitely on the string bean side of the weight spectrum, but that probably wouldn't stop the "healthy eating shamers" from chiming in about everything that could be wrong with my lunch for him (not enough protein, too many carbs, too much sodium, where's the fruit?). I can only imagine the flack other parents must get for lunches or snacks that include, say, a bag of Doritos or cookies, or a candy bar or the judgement that parents of kids who are heavier than mine might get even if they packed the same exact lunch that I pack.
Here's my perspective: A child's lunch and or snack is only one piece of his overall eating picture. We don't know what that same child is eating over the course of his entire day and it is not up to a teacher, a school, or anyone else to try to impose their own judgement there. Period.
For example, my son's school snack is usually a big ole' bag of veggie sticks (which, let's be real, contain no vegetables to speak of) – a snack packed with sodium and starch, and little else. But what other people don't see is that for dinner, he may eat roasted chicken, edamame, broccoli and mac and cheese. I can't imagine what I would feel, say, do if I got a note sent home from my son's teacher saying that I need to pack my son more healthy lunches or snacks. Honestly, given the limited menu of things he likes to eat, I don't even know what that would be (another cucumber?) How is it anyone else's business what I feed my kid? The only time I think it is reasonable for school to have a say in my child's snack is when it is my turn to bring in snack for the entire class, and there are certain guidelines that I must follow so as not to put anyone with food allergies at risk.
Glamamom wants to know: Where do you stand on the healthy lunch/snack at school issue? Do you think that if a teacher notices that a child's lunch or snack is consistently "unhealthy" (a not entirely objective term, by the way), that he or she should feel free to notify the parents to rethink those snacks, or should the school stay out of kids' lunchboxes altogether? And if the school, and the parents, don't seem to be stepping in, do you think it's another parent's duty or right to say something to make the parent aware that their child's snacks are not okay (supposedly, for the sake of the child's health)?
Whether you agree or disagree, we are curious what your "beef" is. Weigh in on the school lunch/snack debate by going to SquashTheBeef.com where you can post your beef on this topic, tell us your side of things, or just send us a message about it.
Squashthebeef.com is a cool new site where you can post your "beef" and send a message to the person with whom you have a disagreement. That person is then notified and invited to post his or her side of the disagreement. The community can also read the "beef," comment, and vote for the party’s post they agree with most.
So. Tell us. What's your beef on the school lunch/snack commentary issue?
ALEXIS BARAD-CUTLER is an essayist who writes candidly and often humorously about the "stuff no one talks about in Mom Group" for sites such as Romper, Well Rounded NY, Mommy Nearest, and other online outlets. You can read more of her work on her website, or you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for all her latest articles.