If you’re a parent in America today, you probably experience stress from a multitude of sources. Disciplining children (teaching them both what to do and what not to do) is difficult. Relating to your kids when they’re not talking to you can drive you crazy. The expectations put on us by all the experts seem only possible for the wealthy (or families with many relatives with free time near by). School lunches may be easy for some, but of late even they are becoming more stressful.
Have you ever eaten lunch in a school cafeteria? The article linked to above talks about the trash generated, but the main thing I notice is how much perfectly good food the kids throw away. Why? For one, schools and parents are pressured to give kids healthy food – but much of it the kids won’t eat. I remember a cafeteria that served a black bean & corn salad. Here in East Texas some adults would eat that – but a kid? I didn’t see a single kid that ate it. But the school can mark a healthy serving down on its chart.
And then they are the kids that are just plain picky. They’ll only eat a few things, and then soon tire of even those items. We have one like that and feel guilty for feeding her so little. But we know that if she doesn’t like, into the trash can it goes.
Some of the kids in Hammond Elementary in Laurel, MD proudly take their uneaten food home for leftovers. But is it then eaten at home, or just thrown in a different garbage pail? How long until the health department steps in a tells them they have to throw it away since it’s been out of refrigeration/heat for so long?
I can only think of a partial solution. First, work the kids physically before the lunch hour. Get them moving – and tired and hungry. Second, give them less food (but allow them more if they ask for it). Perhaps it’d be worth a try.