EDPS 360 (A2) Fall 2013

School lunches: whose domain is that lunch box anyway?

In Commentary on October 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

This story must have some in a tizzy by now. What to think when a principal sets high standards that infringe upon the alienable right to eat sugar?

Mom unhappy with school’s rules about sugary snacks (with video).

  1. I saw this article earlier this week and was kinda disgusted by it. I really feel that if schools decide that certain items are banned in school lunches what does that teach children. Not allowing children to have something usually makes them want it more. I understand that schools do not want their students eating a family size bag of chips for lunch, but having a little bag I don’t see the harm. I think it teaches children moderation. I really do not think schools should be interfering with student lunches to that extent. If the problem becomes the child is malnourished because of the lunches that are packed then there should be cause for concern. But a “treat” is not something that should not be banned. I think everything should be in moderation.

    • What do you think of the principal’s response? What about the mother’s perspective on treats? It seems the principal (at least under the spotlight) holds perspective as you.

      • I do think that the principal has the same perspective as me in the spotlight as you say. However, when the spotlight is not on it could be a totally different circumstance. As well, the teachers supervising lunch time might be more strict on lunch contants then the principal intended.

  2. In reference to confiscating students food that they bring from home, I have to say it is a policy that I do not particularly agree with. The article seems to throw three different messages, first they are restricting all treats, then none, then only some. It is hard to commentate on that. The “right to eat sugar” could also be debated, and expanded into a more broad sense. With Canada having a subsidized health care system it should be every citizens responsibility to make sure they are making healthy choices, as well as public institutions to educate on these choices.

    However, it is incredibly easy to commentate on the role of public schools and educating health, especially in the realm of nutrition. With Canada’s youth rate of obesity and overweight getting higher every year, intervention at an early age and education about healthy eating choices, what to eat, and how to track what you are eating should be highly encouraged. While I was going through school these programs were severely lacking. All I remember from it was a short look at the Canadian food guide (which is lacking in a lot of information) and that was in elementary when I did not fully know the larger implications healthy eating may have. I am happy to hear that they have been taking the initial steps such as prohibiting the sale of junk food over the past several years. Unfortunately, this is only a beginning, and I would like to see physical education programs expand to a health and fitness program, and be mandatory up until graduation from grade 12.

  3. I personally think it’s great to see a school finally following through with a healthy eating policy. Students absolutely do not need to be bringing sugary snacks or junk food to school in their lunches. If parents want to give their child a treat, they can do so at home. I think that educating students and parents on healthy food choices is an important thing for schools to be doing, especially at the junior high level where parents are starting to lose some control over what students eat when they are not at home. Once students start junior high they begin to make some of their own choices about what kinds of food to put in their bodies and eliminating their access to the pop, candy and chips often sold in vending machines at schools is a positive change in my opinion. Of course, eliminating foods high in sugar and fat at school is not going to solve the childhood obesity crisis by any means but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The other side to this is physical activity and I would hope that in addition to the nutritional restrictions that this school is also promoting Daily Physical Activity for all students. As a future teacher and parent I would support these policies being implemented at any school I was working at or sending my children to.

    • I just have a question, lots of school snack foods are high in sugar, dunkaroos, fruit rollups, dipped granola bars, ect. Should these also be banned? I honestly dont see a problem with sending my child with a little holloween candy. Two little candies or a little bag of chips is not going to make my child obese. However, sending my child with a whole regular box of smarties is unrealistic.

  4. I agree I think that it is great that the school is trying to put in place a healthy food policy. I would need to look into it a little bit more but I’m sure that if the school has a ban on bringing sugary junk foods to the school then they are also not offering sugary snacks there. Now maybe it does seem a little bit extreme to be taking away the food and again we do not know the entire situation but if that is the policy that the school has put into place then they should be following through with it. I think that there should definitely be a warning, so not take the food away the first time that it happens but to give both the parents and the students a warning and if it keeps happening then the consequence can be to take it away. Now that being said if they are taking away food like pop and sugar snacks then they should have a storage of snacks, like fruit that they can choose from, that they can give the students instead so that students still has enough to eat and then return the confiscated food at the end of the day.

    This idea does seem a little bit extreme and I hate to make this comparison but if you see a student with drugs or alcohol in the school you are going to take it away from them. Yes, we take this away because it is illegal but another huge reason why we take it away is because they are bad for you, they are harmful for your body. Obesity now a days is an epidemic problem and it is leading to so many health problems in our youth. You may correct me if I’m wrong but eating high artificial sugar foods can be addictive we get hooked on always having the sugar in our body, I know personally sometimes I have to have chocolate, I don’t know exactly why but its like I need it and I’m a little grumpy if I don’t have some. So yes your right sometimes having “treats” are not going to make children obese it is the excessive consumption of the “treats” that can influence obesity. So where do you draw the line? If students are not allowed to have “junk” during school hours that is 6 to 7 hours less time for them to have unhealthy treats. What is wrong with only having a treat at home after school? My last point is that if obesity wasn’t such a huge problem then I probably would disagree with what this school is doing, but that is not the reality; Obesity is a problem in society and this is one way to start fighting the problem.

  5. I do think that it is a good idea to continue to educate students on making healthy choices in order to help them lead a healthy and active lifestyle. I would even say that it is absolutely necessary to do this, as some parents don’t know the components of a healthy and nutritious diet. I do understand that parents may be upset at the fact that the food they are packing is getting taken away, since they did buy it with their money and chose to pack it in their child’s lunch. However, I think the mother referring to a can of coke and a chocolate bar as a “treat” is not helpful to her child in anyway. There are many healthy treats that kids can have in their lunch that don’t contain huge amounts of sugar that are harmful to their body and can sometimes affect their learning. I personally do agree with sugary snacks being banned in schools because they are nothing but harmful for our children. If you really want to give them a “treat” give them a couple carrots.. it will help them out far more in the long run.

  6. I think that it is important for schools to educate on proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles and encourage this as a lifestyle choice. Even healthy lifestyle choices allow some of these “unhealthy choices” in moderation. Everyone has their item that is a treat that is okay to have once in a while or a little snack once a day. As long as it is a little snack and it is complimented by other healthy choices then this will not detrimentally impact an individual. It is when these unhealthy choices become the prominent choices that they lead to unhealthy lifestyles. A mix of healthy eating, proper exercising and the occasional treat will lead to a healthy individual. We all need a treat otherwise we will no longer want to stick with a healthy routine if it feels like torture with no rewards. A small treat each day in a student’s lunch is a way of telling your child there efforts in school are appreciated. Many kids will not eat their vegetables unless they know they will have a reward afterwards. Thinking back to my lunches my mom packed I would always have fruit and vegetables along with some other things such as cheese and crackers but I would have one small ‘unhealthy’ snack such as a package of fruit snacks. Despite having these fruit snacks and treats such as popcorn or chips during family movie night, icecream on a hot summers day, home baked cookies and the occasional pop I lead a healthy lifestyle with exercise, good health and healthy eating habits.

    The education is important but it is not fair to remove the small lunchbox treat. If the entire lunchbox is regularly filled with high fat and sugar-filled foods then I believe it is necessary to have a conversation with the student and if needed the parents about a healthy, well-balance lifestyle.

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