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IVYLASS SparkPoints: (223,313)
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11/20/13 2:16 P

I saw that. It's going viral. I predict the school district backs off quickly. It's not like she sent her kid to school with a Red Bull and a bag of licorice. Yeesh.

SUZAN30 Posts: 267
11/20/13 1:42 P

I'm coming to this discussion a bit late, but I guess I'm in the minority who approve the idea of guidelines for meals at school. I can remember volunteering in my daughter's class room when she was in elementary school. She had a classmate who, sadly, was morbidly obese in the second grade. I couldn't believe the meals the child brought to school--3-4 pieces of fried KFC chicken,a big mac, 6-7 fried link sausages, chocolate bars for dessert, with never a fruit or veggie in sight. Maybe some tactful suggestions about what constituted a healthy meal would have been helpful to the parents, both of whom were obese themselves.

All the libertarian types seem to delight in denouncing "food police," l, but the truth is that we all pay the price for the growing rates of obesity and health related disorders in this country. I've often thought that some kind of instruction on shopping and cooking would be useful for recipients of food stamps. It is depressing to see people buying bags of frozen french fries with their food stamp cards when a bag of potatoes or brown rice would be a cheaper and healthier alternative.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
11/20/13 1:26 P

According to the article about it in the Winnipeg Sun, the mother who received the fine was actually on the board for the daycare when they decided to impose fines on parents who sent lunches that did not meet the guidelines dictated by the Manitoba government for children in daycare. I would have to assume that this mother chose to go public with the story as a way to protest the idiocy of the guidelines, and not the fine itself.

Since the government guidelines must be met by the daycare if the parents don't comply, I can understand that a daycare which doesn't normally supply meals would not keep on hand fresh, healthy, perishable items for the rare occasions that they would be needed in order to meet an arbitrary "rule" --- especially when the meals actually supplied were already sufficient and healthy, just not laid out according to "guidelines". Supplying a package of Ritz crackers meets the requirements of the "rule", which is all that they need to do.

Personally, I'm a bit torn on this issue. I'm one of those who prefers that the government keep their noses out of my life as much as possible, but still can see the point of having health and safety guidelines for foods served in daycares and schools --- IF that food is supplied by the daycare or school. A regulation dictating what a parent is supposed to feed their own child is absolutely ridiculous government interference, in my opinion, and expecting daycares and schools to police such a regulation goes even beyond ridiculous.

For all that the mother in this story has to accept responsibility for knowingly "breaking the rules", I have to applaud her for going public in what I see as an attempt to get the "rule" removed or changed.

Edited by: ICEDEMETER at: 11/20/2013 (13:30)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,529
11/20/13 1:06 P

No a daycare cannot tell me what to do. I am paying them and that means I am their boss. Not the other way around.

I love what Lynne said about telling them to shove it in their cracker box.

Where I live the High Schools had vending machines. They switched the sugary sodas and junky snacks with diet sodas, 100% fruit juice, sun chips and granola bars. Probably still not the best thing for kids to eat, but slightly better options than what was in them before.

11/20/13 12:51 P

So much debate without knowing the whole situation. Jumping to conclusions that this child could be celiac, yadda, yadda. I totally agree the rest of this lunch was good. Leftovers what a great way to use them up. I don't agree with the Ritz crackers being thought of as healthy. Sorry I don't think any cracker is healthy even the low sodium whole grain Triscuit. Those are still salty.

I can't believe the fine though $5 per child, I sure hope the kids got a box of crackers each, as that is close the the price for a whole box.

Grains are one food group that is easily over eaten. Besides meat. I know I work as a school cook and there are days I go way over the grain amount, but providing an interesting/varied meals for the kids can be a challenge. I do my best not to have too many repeats in a month, but things like cereal are cheap and with a budget, I can't be serving eggs and bacon. Also with a peanut/dairy/egg allergies in this building I have to be careful what I cook. Peanuts are easy to get rid of, just don't buy any product without, but the amount of cereals that I can offer are down to 6 choices for cold and 3 for hot.

The kids that don't eat from our food program bring such crappy food choices, pizza pops, pizza slices, hot dogs, big bags of chips, pop, sugar drinks, sugar cereal, candy (fruit snacks), sausage rolls (for breakfast), etc.

11/20/13 9:56 A

JENNA3 - I don't think schools should be teaching kids about moderation by handing out junk food at school. No way. My idea of moderation is completely different from yours and the next guy and the guy after that. If I want my kids to eat junk I will put it in their lunch and do in moderation.

I refuse to let my kids participate in fund raisers involving junk food. If they would sell something, anything else I would let them participate but it's not right to have kids peddling crap in the name of a good cause. I'd rather and do just give a donation instead.

JENNA3 SparkPoints: (74,985)
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11/20/13 8:37 A

I can understand that maybe the kid doesn't like grains so the parents didn't send it. Or if the kids has an intolerance. In that case, the parents should have made an agreement with the school so they knew what was going on. So I don't buy that excuse.

My thought is - what if the parent just plain forgot the toast? Packing a lunch every day for your child can be a challenge when you have everything else to do, too. Maybe the toast just didn't make it. Seems a stupid reason for a fine. If the parents repeatedly broke the rules, I'd get it. But one little mistake of forgetting a grain seems extreme.

That said, the US government is busy telling us what our kids should eat, what they should way, what we can and cannot bring for their lunches or offer to their classes. If the school gets Title 1 funds, then no sugar snacks are allowed to be offered to kids on school premises. This means no cupcakes for birthdays, no candy for treat bags, nada. It's annoying, because it teaches our kids that they can never have a treat. I get the point of it-some classes might have birthday celebrations multiple times per week due to the timing of birthdays. But still, it's annoying. Worse is that these same schools are encouraged to sell candy or cookie dough to raise money. WTH? It's okay to give it to others, but you can't have it? That doesn't go over well. Guess who buys all that cookie dough? The parents! Who eats it? The kids! Seems like hypocrisy to me.

The worst thing about it is that the government ties the funds for the school to their following these specific nutritional guidelines. It's almost like blackmail.

MILEENA123 Posts: 91
11/19/13 11:03 P

Most of the daycares in the city where this happened are publicly funded to the tune of $10,000 per year per child. All licenses daycares (public or not) are required to follow strict rules and are regularly inspected. Even home-based daycares are inspected.

This is part of the reason there is a crazy shortage of daycare spots in this province. My husband and I aren't pregnant yet but I'm already looking for a daycare spot.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/19/13 6:44 P

Bottom line - nobody gets to decide my child's nutritional needs without my permission.


SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
11/19/13 4:52 P

that's different

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
11/19/13 4:48 P

It's a presumably private daycare. They have the right to do just about anything they please short of discriminating against students of the wrong race and stuff like that. They can make kids wear uniforms, they can make parents shell out extra cash for supplies, and they can enforce their preferred dietary rules in whatever way they wish and the parents have signed off on. Most people who have really strong opinions on "the government shouldn't be telling me what to do" are perfectly happy to let private institutions do the same thing on the grounds of "you signed the contract, sorry, your fault", so forgive me if I'm a bit baffled here.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/19/13 4:08 P

And what if the child had been gluten-intolerant or allergic to any of the ingredients within those crackers?

Can we say LAWSUIT?

I'm not one to jump on the "let's sue everybody for everything" bandwagon, but if my kid would have suffered consequence to the school giving him/her something they could not tolerate, I'd be all over them so fast they wouldn't know what hit 'em.

MLEHTO Posts: 734
11/19/13 2:16 P

That lunch sounded healthy to me and who's to say the child wasn't getting a grain at another meal?

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/19/13 12:54 P

Yeah, the vending machines, that's definitely a different matter entirely. But even with those, the schools should get rid of them BY CHOICE - not because the government tells them to.

As for the $10 fine, I'd tell them to stick it into their cracker box.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/19/13 12:45 P

I find it alarming that anyone would allow a school, whose sole job is to educate children, to even weigh in on the topic of diet, much less, make be able to enforce anything.

If you send your child to school with 5 packages of Twinkies, that is your choice, not the school's. Somewhere along the line, people decided that if they meant well, they could tell others how to do things, and it was okay. It isn't.. worry about your own children, and stay away from others.

The only thing I agree with is doing away with the vending machines, or doing what they want with the lunches they provide. That is their option, since they are in charge of the school, and they are paying for it ( with our ), but they have control of the money, and decide what to do with it.. that is acceptable.

We need to stop and think about this more often.. YOUR rights end, when they tread on MY rights. You don't have the right to tell me what to feed my child. End of debate. It is food paid for by the parent, and given to the child, and that is what the child should eat.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,529
11/19/13 12:42 P

I agree with Russell a school should not be permitted to look at your child's lunch. There is so little time for lunch anyway. So the teacher going through everyone's lunch takes away from learning and other things.

Besides that many daycare providers don't look as if they are qualified to provide a child with nutritional guidance. Just sayin.........

SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
11/19/13 12:11 P

Food Police Strikes again! If a Parent is providing the meal for the children, it is Their Business and NOT the daycare! The child should eat what is packed by Parent, If the PARENT IS Paying for meals Provided BY the daycare then it is the daycares responsibility to choose food selections! Personally I would remove my child from there! It could be dangerous or life threatening if a child consumes a food that could cause a allergic reaction or have a food sensitivity ( Chrone's has a difficult time digesting whole or grains as does diverticulitis) parents pack what they feel ok for their children or what they may have on hand at the time to pack! Should NEVER be told what to pack by daycare/school

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/19/13 11:57 A

Quoting Russell : "That lunch is what you determined was health for your child, and they have no right to adjust what a parent sends for them to eat."


Their job is to teach the children, not determine what should be in their lunchboxes.

Edited by: LYNNIEV at: 11/19/2013 (11:58)
LYNNIEV Posts: 394
11/19/13 11:48 A

If the school wants to provide the kids with healthier options in the lunches they make there, fine. But what I send to school with my child is MY business and not theirs. Especially if they're going to give my child JUNK and call it healthy.

I would call the school and say "Hey, you gave my child something I didn't want her to eat. So can I fine YOU?"

Edit to add: if the school doesn't provide any meals and it's entirely up to me to send lunch with my child every day, it's still my choice what to pack. I'm all for making healthy "suggestions", especially to parents who may be ignorant to what good nutrition is. But to take it upon yourself to substitute or supplement my child with a food you deem "nutritious", then fine me for not providing it myself, nope - not gonna fly, sister.

Edited by: LYNNIEV at: 11/19/2013 (11:53)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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11/19/13 11:18 A

If it was a public school I'd agree on the junk food, too, but this is a preschool, so hey, they can set some basic guidelines. The one my son went to, they strongly discouraged kids being sent with junk food or anything to drink other than water (seriously, seriously, loved that place. retro-hippie awesomeness), though they were in no way so authoritarian as to impose fines or anything remotely like that.

In general I'm much more comfortable with setting rules and guidelines that say "these are the foods we will not accept in our school" than rules and guidelines that say "this is how you must eat, or suffer consequences".

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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11/19/13 10:51 A

Agreed, they shouldn't ban junk food. *But* I wouldn't be opposed to removing vending machines selling soda/candy/etc from schools.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/19/13 10:45 A

I don't think they should be able to ban junk food. I don't think it should be eaten, but it is not up to a school, or government to determine diet in individuals. That is up to the individual, or the parent.

If they really wanted to ban junk food, ban companies from making, and selling it, not parents from feeding it to their children.

A school should not be allowed to even look at YOUR child's lunch.

11/19/13 9:40 A

RENATARUNS I couldn't agree more with you on that. Potatoes are much higher up on my nutritionally benificial foods list than whole grain.

The requirement should have been for 1 starch not 1 grain.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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11/19/13 8:56 A

I get cranky when people try to tell me a bit of potato is "not the best choice", especially when compared to a slice of bread, no matter how impeccably whole grain. Grr. I am eagerly awaiting the day when potatoes join the list of redeemed foods that are all of a sudden considered to be miraculously healthy or at least far too unfairly maligned. I have little doubt that that day will come.

Anyway! I kind of agree with Russell here. Stay the heck out of the kids' meal choices. Beyond banning junk food I don't think a pre-school should have any business in forcing kids' parents to send X instead of Y to school with them. The fact that their idea of making up the presumed deficiency is to give the kid Ritz crackers.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/19/13 8:34 A

The diet your child eats is up to the parents, not the government. Instead of debating grains, and what the lunch should look like, we should stop and ask why they are even allowed to look at your child's lunch.

That lunch is what you determined was health for your child, and they have no right to adjust what a parent sends for them to eat. If this was about the child not having any lunch at all, then it might be something for the school, or day care to become involved in, but this is way too far.

They shouldn't know what your kid is eating.. EVER. It is none of their business.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/19/13 8:25 A

MISSRUTH, I totally agree with you. The parents certainly knew the rules and could have avoided the whole thing. They could have simply left things as they were (carrots, meat, potatoes, orange) and also put in a couple of whole grain Triscuits to fulfill the requirement. Or, they could have reduced the portions of the rest of the lunch and included a small amount of homemade granola, or a 1/2 of a whole wheat roll or a small serving of some sort of healthy cereal or some air popped popcorn or... I have very little sympathy for people who know the rules and then deliberately break them (because they disagree) so they can cause a scene and act like victims (which is what they were doing in this case...photographing the notice, then getting the photograph posted in various places to stir up outrage at how victimized they had been). Was the policy a bit silly? Yes. But, so was the way that the parent acted. The policy is also evidently no longer in force and the daycare is serving hot lunches, making this even more of a non-story.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,275
11/19/13 8:13 A

my guess is that it boils down to funding. some daycares [at least in the us] receive a good portion of their income from government programs. and in order to receive that money they have to keep their books in a certain way, they have to plan their meals in a certain way, and those meals have to be composed of a certain number of items from a certain list. particularly since multiple agencies inspect daycares i can see where following the exact letter of the rules for maintaining their funding would be followed, even if logic dictates that something would be close enough. in other words if they are getting 10 dollars a day per child to make sure the child gets one item each on ten different lists, it's not worth risking that funding to move the potato from the vegetable category into the starch category [which doesn't exist as far as the usda is concerned. some vegetables are in the subcategory of starch, but that's not the same category as grains], particularly since a lot of those inspectors are by the book people. and most inspectors these days have tablets or netbooks and it's a yes or no type thing. there isn't a write in portion for if the inspector thinks the meals look balanced, there is just a box next to all children have a serving of grains/protein/fruit/veg/etc.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,294
11/19/13 7:12 A

idk. I reckon whenever they attempt to make lunches etc more healthy... there are so many considerations. Exactly how *healthy* do they want to make it? Will the kids eat it? How much of a burden would it put on the parents? A family used to mac & cheese and hot dogs at home, is not going to start sending quinoa in the kid's lunch. Which may be why the kid's lunch was supplemented with Ritz crackers. That particular choice may very well be something that experience has shown, kids WILL eat. As opposed to say, low sodium whole grain Triscuits or something. While crackers may not be the best choice.... they keep well at room temperature, and kids will eat Ritz or Saltines.

Presumably the parents in the article had been furnished with the nutritional guidelines which would have (hopefully) included examples of acceptable food items. They could have easily avoided the entire thing, by skipping potatoes (not exactly the best choice) and including a slice of whole wheat bread. But then are we going to debate the merits of store-bought whole wheat bread, and insist it needs to be home made? Exactly where do you draw the line? And where *you* draw the line, is not going to be the same place as any other random person, draws the line. For some "random people", the fact that you need to include a grain at all (and not let it be white bread), might leave them stumped.

The way I look at it, they are trying to make it healthier. It's trial and error, revision after revision, fumbling around a bit but meaning well and headed in the right direction even though sometimes they do stupid stuff. And yes sometimes there's going to be something that *should* be acceptable but through oversight or whatever, isn't on the "okay" list. The school lunch menus here are (imo) not the greatest.... but they are indeed a LOT better than they used to be.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/19/13 5:35 A

They dropped the policy, realized it was dumb and replaced it with a hot lunch. Ritz crackers... highly refined flour and trans fat, yippee! Now that's what I call a grain! :o

I found the list of "healthy" lunch suggestions sent home from my son's school far from my personal idea of what would be consider healthy but it's all relative I guess. They have to consider that not all parents at the school have a lot of option in preparation time and have to consider different financial situations.

However, I think our schools nutritional education needs a quick swift kick in the fill-in-the-blank. No candy but "fruit" snacks are ok and considered a healthy option even though they're as nutritionally devoid as candy. They provide a "healthy" snack program at my son's school that is a free supplemental program. I ask my son what he had for a snack and it's always... some fruit and.... crackers (usually). Personally, I don't mind my son having things once in awhile that wouldn't make our healthy list at home. Coming from a healthy home myself and having "forbidden" foods led to total food rebellion in university.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/19/2013 (05:38)
OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
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11/19/13 3:43 A

I googled this and it did happen in Canada but here's my question....
What if they send grains and the child doesn't eat them? Are they going to start forcing it down their throats?
The whole thing is just ridiculous.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/19/13 1:56 A

The parents were not fined for not sending Ritz Crackers. They were fined for not sending a grain in their children's lunch boxes. I'm sure they knew the rules.

MILEENA123 Posts: 91
11/18/13 11:55 P

This happened in my city and it is disgusting. These ridiculous rules are one of the reasons we are so short of daycare spots. My sister-in-law used to take in kids in her home but had to stop because she spent so much time and money on meeting the requirements and regulations.

SCIFIFAN Posts: 1,119
11/18/13 10:27 P

If this is true, absolutely ridiculous.

Yes, Ritz crackers are just so healthy.....and what kind of daycare fines parents if their lunches don't meet some goofy guidelines?

I'd fine the school for thinking crackers are a healthy grain!

11/18/13 8:53 P

"She sent her children to daycare with with lunches containing leftover homemade roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and some milk.

She did not send along any "grains".

As a consequence the school provided her children with, I kid you not, supplemental Ritz Crackers, and her with a $10 fine."

Wow just wow! The sent meal sounds really healthy and balanced to me.

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