There has been talk in the media lately on the quality of school and childcare lunch boxes, and what the parents think about them....
I sit on both sides of the fence. I can see the benefit of having a healthy lunch, I really don't think any parent would argue with that, but I also know how hard it is to always pack ALL Healthy, and I am not afraid to say that I don't think there is anything wrong with a muesli bar with a squiggle of chocolate on it, or a piece of homemade cake.
I as a parent DO get annoyed with my child coming home resighting comments that his kindy teacher has said, don't you listen because there is not allowed any chocolate at kindy. (we are not talking a chocolate bar, just a squiggle of chocolate). Use those ears on your head.
Mornings are busy, getting ready, breakfast, feeding our brood of animals and making lunch. I make master 4's kindy lunch, but the older two make their own, unless they are running late. And I can tell you that I can fill a lunch box with all healthy food in the beginning of the week, but towards the end, well it does come down to adding the odd meusli bar or 2.
Coming from a FDC background, I liked my daycare kiddies to eat healthy, and I would model this behaviour as I sat and ate lunch with them. I provided food, so having healthy food was easier when I had the time to prepare it all. The children and I would often use cooking as our learning experiences and I would use this to encourage children to try/taste new food, but even running a childcare, the children had balance.
Food is an important part of our life and I think as both parents, teachers and educators alike we should also be careful on how we aproach the subject. We certainly don't need to be making our children feel guilty over eating a muesli bar or a homemade cake.
Everything comes down to balance, as long as children have a balance of good, mostly healthy and a small amount a biscuits, or cake or other. And again balance on their activity level, eg, include some form of active play during their day. Then I think there is nothing wrong with children having their cake too.
I also beleive it is a parents responsibility to decide what their children should eat and again for them to alter the balance of their food if they think their children need to have a more healthy life style. This certainly starts at home, and most educators would know you can educate the children all you like but the parents are responsible for buying and preparing the food, if they choose junk, then the children have little choice in the matter. I also think in cases like these it makes very little difference to a child's overall health when educator/teacher focus and make a child eat only healthy food when at home, their is no healthy food in sight. In cases like this, putting so much emphasis on healthy eating and such a negative impact on unhealthy eating can also cause disturbing self image and self esteem problems, and can also lead to eating disorders as well.
My approach is enjoy food, all food. Eat the colours of the rainbow, and a little rainbow cake ever now and again. As a family we all like to try new food, and all my children enjoy the experience of cooking. To end on a lighter note, I thought I would share our new favourite salad.
Mango and Pommigratite Salad. Recipe is an original from my husband, Kim.
1 mango diced
Half of a pomegranate seeds tapped, rind disguarded.
Half a lettuce, sliced cucumber, thinkly slices carrot.
Add together and mix throughly.
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons of honey,
1 teaspoon of olive oil
mix together and drissle over.
(we also love elderberry dressing on this salad, but this is only available online through http://www.ashboltfarm.com/ef_main.htm )