I have just been over at Babysitter Directory reading about a book called Healthy Family Happy Family and entering the subsequent giveaway to try and win said book. Not that I want you to enter the giveaway and reduce my chances of winning but the book looks great and who couldn’t do with some more healthy and interesting food options so you really should pop over and enter! Anyway, reading the post got me thinking about school lunch boxes and in particular the food I saw in lunch boxes today as I assisted with some school excursions to our local area.
I joined the excursion as they all stopped to have a snack; 40 students, 2 staff and 2 parent helpers. What I observed almost blew my mind. I could list every inappropriate item that was pulled out of a lunch bag but I would be here all night. Here is the ‘best-of’ list just from snack bags seen today, I was too afraid to see what was eaten for lunch!
- Chips – almost every child had a packet of chips in their lunch. Even the teacher had a packet of chips in her snack/lunch. I should mention that the teacher’s packet of chips was not your single serve size (like those from the multi packs available) as was most of the students but a huge packet that would serve many, at least twice the size of the normal chip packets that is more than a recommended serve.
- Oreos – a 4 pack of Oreos seemed to be standard fare in lunch boxes as a snack item.
- The only museli bars in sight were covered in chocolate.
- Fruit – what’s that? I saw 3 pieces of fruit being eaten. 3 pieces between 40 kids.
- Almost every item I saw come out of a lunch bag came from a commercially packaged wrapper. You can imagine the litter that had to be collected!
- Then we have the most disturbing snack of all – Tim Tams! Now I have nothing against Tim Tams personally (other than they aren’t gluten free), but my concern was about them being used in a kids lunch box. Now let me say that we aren’t talking about a single or even a couple of Tim Tams in the lunch bag but an entire pack. Who would give an 8 or 9 year old child an entire packet of Tim Tams?
Now I kind of get that perhaps the kids were given a treat in their snack bags on account of them being on an excursion so I asked a few of the kids. Their response was that this is the food they would normally eat but maybe they had a few extra packages included, just in case they were extra hungry.
The whole experience blew me away. My kids would be intolerable if they were fed even a quarter of the crap that I observed being consumed today. A typical lunchbox around here consists of the obligatory Vegemite sandwich (on wholemeal or multigrain), a banana, chopped up fruit (today was strawberry, mango and apple) some rice crackers and some cheese (the cheese is the only item that usually remains uneaten). The last slot in the lunch box usually has dried fruit or a surprise. Every now and then they might have a museli bar or a fruit stick. If we have baked recently then sometimes some will appear in their lunch box as the surprise item, like today they had mini pikelets to nibble on, they were left over from breakfast. For variety the kids will eat pasta or rice for lunch or pizza quesadilla (tortilla toasted with tomato paste, cheese and oregano!) for something quick and easy.
I know that I am lucky that my kids eat well and love fresh fruit and vegies. I really don’t know if I could afford to feed my guys so much crap food.
I must remind man-child that tomorrow is ‘nude’ food day at the school my kids attend and ensure that since he is doing the school run tomorrow, including lunches (courtesy of a 7am start for me) that they don’t have any pre-packaged food snuck into their lunch boxes, assuming that lunch boxes are remembered this time!