….becoming the teacher's best friend!

Whole grain, 2% American Cheese, Fat-free mayo and TWO DESSERTS!

lunchableWhen you peek in the classroom each morning and again at the end of the day to pick-up, you see kids in the classroom participating in some organized routine. Perhaps they are starting a writing assignment or participating in a “morning meeting” and get going once everyone is there. On Monday mornings, most kids fall into the categories of being fed, being rushed and wishing it was still Saturday. Once the teacher gets everyone into the groove, things pick up. Brains turn on. Groups form. Activities are under way. But around 11:30, tummies start to rumble. Kids look forward to seeing what mom packed for lunch. Teachers look forward to teaching well-fed students for the after-noon stretch. Will the the pre-packaged, on-sale, “everyone smiles” product off the grocery shelf  come back to bite?

You read: “Whole-grain mini-sub sandwhich.” This product label should make any mom feel good about her purchase. But you’d be surprised if you volunteered for lunch duty at your kid’s school. Browse the rows of tables and see what kids are eating. Read the packaging. Then, look to see what is left over after the Chips-Ahoy! Cookies, Sugar-free Jello and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid are consumed. It’s that whole-grain mini-sub made with lean ham! With all the chit-chatter and freedom to start with dessert(s), kids wrap up their 20-30 minute eating session without digesting the only item with some real nutrients. The protein, whole-grain, dairy and vitamins are deposited in the trash bin. Now back to the classroom…

Teachers, parents and scientists have long debated the affects of sugar, aspertame and red dye on young kids. Without getting into that “un-dye-ing” arguement, let’s think for a minute about whether we would want the reverse as parents. What if teacher called you at noon to pick up our kid? They have just consumed about 21 grams of sugar and now you need to spend the next 3 hours working with your kid on a long-division packet and create a skit about algae reproduction! Now imagine how productive that afternoon would have been for your kid at school. Remember this is territory that most teachers stay out of. They deal with the cards they’ve been dealt and don’t cross that line of “parenting advice”.

That Parent: Figures her kid is lucky she has time to pack backpacks, get kids to school, remember all of the doctor’s appointments, help with homework, do the grocery shopping, and make sure the food even gets to school. Packing a fancy gourmet lunch for a 7-year-old is not on the top half of her list of important things to do or think about.

Favorite Parent: Tests at home. Give your kid 30 minutes to eat a lunch similar to what you pack for school and see what happens. You might see that they don’t like half of it and would rather starve. You might see them go into a sugar-coma after drinking red Kool-Aid. You might see that they eat their food and behave normally, but are hungry 15 minutes later and crave something else. Next, ask your kid’s teacher if he complains of being hungry, thirsty, constipated or tired after lunch. Perhaps the leftover turkey or halloween candy was something she wanted to mention, but didn’t want to offend. By bringing it up, you are telling the teacher that you care about your kid’s diet and performance in class.


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