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Schools Inspecting Sack Lunches To See If They Meet Nutrition Guidelines?

As a parent how would you feel if you packed your son or daughter’s lunch only to find the school had searched through it and determined it wasn’t healthy enough and sent you a bill for the cafeteria food they served your child instead…even if they didn’t touch a bite of it?

You’d be furious I’m sure. Not only is the school in essence telling you that you’re not fit to care for the health of your own children, but if you won’t get in line with their standards, they’ll do it for you.

Think this could never happen? Think again…it’s happening right now!

I was shocked by a story this week where a preschool girl in North Carolina had her sack lunch searched by school officials who determined the turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet the US Department of Agriculture guidelines.

So instead they gave her a school lunch that met all the guidelines.

What did she end up eating? Three chicken nuggets….that’s it. Everything else on her plate went to waste. So you tell me, did we really improve the nutrition this young girl received with her lunch?

This kind of stuff really gets me fired up! If you think for one second this kind of government policy is all about “improving the health of all the children for the benefit of the entire community, state, and country” then you and I are seeing something totally different.

What I see is exactly what’s happening. The government telling you what’s best for your child’s lunch and if you don’t meet their standards they’ll take over for you.

Look don’t get this all twisted. I’m ALL for ways to provide healthy nutrition for the impoverished and less fortunate students who have no choice, but we’re talking about inspecting lunches here people.

Did you get that? INSPECTING sack lunches to see if they meet some guidelines.

For those of you who think this is a good idea, nothing I’m going to say will change your mind. For those of you who are already concerned about trading liberties for the so called “greater good,” this is another wake up call.

Today this happened at a preschool in North Carolina. Don’t be surprised if you wake up six months or a year from now and it’s in your state, at your local school.

Here’s an excerpt from the story so you can get a real feel for what went down…

RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

The girl’s mother – who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation – said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.

“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.

The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”

When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. your lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.” Read rest of the story.

I’d love to hear your comments on this. You know where I stand on it. As a people we’re going to have to decide if we want to solve our problems as individuals, parents, and communities or if we’d rather have the state and federal government do it for us. If you choose the latter just make sure you’re ok with trading personal liberties as part of the deal. The two will always go together.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios.

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Category: Shane's Commentary.