Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad food

Last week, Laurie left a comment asking,
"Do Kylie's teachers ever comment on how beautiful her lunches are? I would be excited to see what she brought in each day!"

I've had one teacher say that it is "interesting to see what's in Kylie's lunch" and another teacher comment, "You must have a lot of free time". Both fairly innocuous statements. And I really don't expect people to understand the whole bento lunch thing and how it amuses me to make Kylie's lunches look pretty.

But I was shocked to hear Kylie say, "Teacher said I had to eat my good food before my bad food and I ran out of time before lunch was over so I only ate my good food".


So I calmly asked Kylie, "What did teacher say the bad food was?"
Kylie, "My pirate booty and my fruit leather".
Me, "She said those were bad foods".
Kylie, "Yes."


This isn't the first time we've heard something like this. One night after dinner, we ate cupcakes. Kylie loves cupcakes and we don't eat them often. She was excited about it and told the folks at school about having them. The following day Kylie told me that she didn't want a cupcake for dessert because teacher said they were "junk food and didn't nourish her body."

Now we are stuck with this school until the end of May. And for a myriad of other reasons which I won't get into on this post, we won't be returning to this school next year. So it does me absolutely no good to address this issue with the teachers. Other than some therapeutic blog ranting, I'm letting it go.

But the pissed-off part of me wants to say:

"How dare you qualify food as either good or bad to my daughter! We Americans have enough screwed up notions about food as it is. Food is neither good nor bad. It is food. It is nourishment. Cupcakes aren't junk food; they are desserts. And there is nothing wrong with desserts. Pirate booty and other chips, along with fruit leather, aren't top of the nutritional food chain but neither are they at the bottom. They provide variety in my daughter's nutrient-rich daily menu.

What's more, if I want to put a Hershey bar or Cheetos in my daughter's lunch, you better damn well let her have it and keep your mouth shut about it. Because you know what? It's your job to TEACH not to PARENT.

End rant.

Here's a picture of Kylie's bento lunch. With her "good" go-gurt, clementines, craisins and turkey and her "bad" pirate booty and fruit leather.


Shannon said...

I'm pretty sure my son's school does the same thing and it annoys me too. He kept telling me he didn't have time to eat his treat. Then one day he said that he didn't have time because he had to eat the "good food" first, like his sandwich and his carrots. I told him that was ok, but he didn't have to eat the *whole* sandwich. In fact I told him I'd just make him half a sandwich because he thought he had to eat the whole thing before he could have his treat (which, like yours, aren't horrible treats anyway.) I don't mind them encouraging them to eat the healthier foods so that he doesn't end up eating just cookies for lunch (they only have 20 minutes to eat) but if he eats half a sandwich and some veggies and then wants his cookies, then I think he's eaten a pretty good lunch.

For the Long Haul said...

Our school won't even allow us to send any "treats." If I were to put cheetos or a hershey bar in my son's lunch box, not only would he not be allowed to eat it, but I would get a note sent home to please not send candy in his lunch.

I think this is a fairly common thing in schools now and although it is a bit annoying, I think it is mostly for the parent who don't bother to send ANYTHING of nutritional value and then the school ends up dealing with a kid who's all hopped up on sugary treats. I choose to think it isn't for those of us that provide a healthy nutritious lunch with a treat. :)

H2 said...

When we had the girls in daycare we often had the same battle. The girls' lunches would come home with certain things never opened. One of which was frequently I can understand this way of thinking when some parents put ONLY chips and candy without vegetables and whatnot, but if my child has a variety of items from each of the food groups then I don't want your judgement! There is a difference in teaching them the food pyramid and labeling their foods as "good" or "bad".

Laurie said...

Seriously?? I have never once looked at one of Kylie's lunches and though it wasn't nutritional! It always seems to be well balanced with sensible treats. I would be upset if a teacher made my child feel like I wasn't providing them with good food. Hopefully you'll be able to find a new school when the time comes.

Jane said...

I felt out raged on your behalf ! I work as a child and adolescent psychotherapist and have worked in an eating disorders unit, also have lost via diet and exercise ( not drugs and surgery!) nealry 11 stone, 3 stone to feel qualified to comment ! My response is that it's about healthy eating and foods are neither good or bad rather it's balance and moderation, I think for a child to enjoy their food is great and I love the care and attention that you put into her meals . I felt somewhat unimpressed by the teachers comments ! x

Allison said...

As a teacher, I have to say, I ask my students to eat their lunches first and save their treats/desserts for after they've finished or at least had some of their more nutritious foods. If I didn't do this, many kids would fill up on their treats/desserts and not eat most of the other stuff. The parents in my class don't make lunches that look as awesome as yours do, but overall they do pack pretty healthy food for their kids. I don't mind that they send treats, as long as it's a healthy balance.

Jenn said...

I am shocked that her teachers don't think that her lunches are great! I am a teacher and I get so bored with my lunch. I look at your blog to get some ideas! For some reason my sandwiches taste better when they are cute roll ups!

Dawn said...

I think the problem with the teacher is the language used - good and bad food. I would say something to the teacher about using that kind of language. She won't change if she doesn't know/realize what she is saying. I am a teacher and a parent. Both at home and school we talk about healthy foods, foods that are the best for your body and eating "unhealthy" foods in moderation. I would never tell kids that their food is bad. By the way, your bentos are beautiful!

Stacey said...

Our montessori did the same thing and would never allow any kind of "candy." I think it's lame. Your lunches are AWESOME and if I was her teacher, I would be sending you a note to tell you so.

Missi said...

If you add something in your lunch that it is not allow by the school. EASY: TALK TO ME!!!! It is unfair to confront what K. is learnig at home with school rules. Teacher should teachs and not to judges. K. must be cofused and loosing confidence about momma criteria. I hope you can talk to them and clear it up. your kid is their alumn not belongs to them-

By the way, I think your lunches most of the times are varied, healthy and just wonderful. I hope you can find the right school for you and your family.

Teaberry said...

I wonder if the teachers realize that they are making a class full of little children have a food complex which is very dangerous. I would hate to think that the children grew up feeling guilty about eating certain foods... The first think I thought about was "eating disorder", as a previous commenter mentioned. I think I would say something about this to the teachers, honestly.

Our daycare has been a little tricky, too... we've requested NO MEAT at daycare, as they serve foods we don't want him to have yet, like chicken nuggets (we're trying to tempt his palate with more healthy stuff first), but they keep feeding him that stuff, even after we've asked them not too a ton times!

Bethany said...

I totally agree with you! YOU are her PARENT! And there is nothing wrong with Kylie's lunches. She is a very healthy eater!

Michelle said...

Oh, "good" food-"bad" food comments really get me! How can children be expected to learn to use moderation if they are denied the chance to have foods that should be eaten in moderation? Rrrr. And FWIW, I think her lunches look delicious and healthy. :) We like the terminology at my kid's montessori school so much we have adopted it at home, too. They ask the kid's to self-monitor and eat proportionally more of their "growing" food. I'm sorry to hear that this is not the only issue you've found at Kylie's school...the perfect school for you is out there waiting! (New commenter, but not a new reader...I really enjoy your writing...and scrapbook pages.)

Stef said...

are u using silicone cups or cupcake cups?

Kerry Lynn said...

the teachers would drop dead from the food I would have to pack for Jackson. He won't eat any of what you pack for Kylie. Not even the dreaded pirate booty.