A Meal Most Foul

  • April 12, 2016

A Meal Most Foul

The blogosphere is in an uproar about The Little Village School’s decision to ban bagged lunches from making their ubiquitous appearance in the cafeteria. The contention between parents and schools has hit an all-time high as school principal, Elsa Carmona, lobbies against the alleged unhealthy lunches her students have been bringing to the schools regularly. In an article from the Chicago Tribune, she cites “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips,” as the foodus operandi for the young palettes of lunch bringers.

Parents across the country resist this type of autocratic ruling and demand the right to send their children to school with hot chips, sodas, juice boxes and whatever they darn well please to send.
So, in an idealist world, we envision students trotting to school with the best stocked lunch bags that nutrition has to provide. And, let us understand, that in California, we are as health-nutty and nutrition obsessed as the rest of the world thinks.

This exemplary lunch would not be considered out of place for most health-conscious mom’s with access to healthy produce and creative ideas.

Photo Courtesy of Kelly at easylunchboxes.com

So if any cognizant being had to choose between the above smorgasbord of nutrition and aesthetic appeal and this gelatinous compost:

Photo Courtesy of the New Green Blog

The choice would be simple.

The debate, as we see it, stems from two main issues: economics and government. First, most families who live in areas with inclement weather cannot afford the weekly trips to the grocery store to purchase the fresh vegetables needed for healthy kids. Not to mention that snowy climates mean expensive produce. (This is why I’m never leaving California). So there is an issue of cost that goes into providing children with great nutrition. Second, and this is what goads my goat, there are parents who really don’t care if their kids eat cupcakes or oat bran, so the standard of soda and chips is not too far off the mark for some people.

This leads to Government. This is the nation most proud of its independence. I hear “land of the free, home of the brave” at least once a month in reference to its citizen’s ability to protest at funerals, burn religious texts and engage in all manner of free speech. So, is it beyond the scope of the government to demand that we feed our children healthy meals? Is it possible that bad nutrition is a form of free speech that these parents have full license to engage? We are caught in a bind because we want the freedom to give our children healthy options that don’t cost $2.25 for a plate full of starch and preservatives, but that also means that we must allow other parents the right to apathy and sugary sodas in an effort to preserve our rights as citizens.

The conundrum will be here next week, but we hope that as parents fight on behalf of their children, they remember to also advocate for an overall change in the standards of school nutrition that will benefit the health of the nation overall and demand that priority be given to decisions and funding that affect our least vocal, most vulnerable population, the children of disenfranchisement.


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