By: Amanda Froelich,
In effort to ensure that every child receives nourishing food at school, the Manitoba Government’s Early Learning and Child Care lunch program implemented regulations for Canada’s families and their schoolchildren. The problem is that few understand what a balanced diet is, shown by the shocking example that follows.
Because school food is notorious for lacking in appeal as well as nutritional value, packing a wholesome home-made meal seems like the right action for a parent concerned about their child’s health. But this means the packed lunch must be within regulation of the school’s expectations: 1 meat, 1 milk, 1 grain, and 2 fruit/vegetables to be included.
If the school decides a child’s lunch is “unbalanced”, where “balance” refers to the food guide set by Canada’s Food Guide, then that lunch will be “supplemented” and the parent is given a fine.
For mom, Kristen Bartkiw, this meant that her home cooked leftovers of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, an orange, and milk were deemed ‘unacceptable’. Why? Because a ‘grain’ was missing. Not taking into account that potatoes are a starch and offer plenty of energizing carbohydrates, the school slapped the following ticket on both of her children’s lunch boxes and fined the parents $10.
In addition to the shocking reprimand from the school, Ritz Crackers were supplemented into the children’s lunch boxes to make up for the missing grain. While the act is respectable in the fact that it is seeking to ensure no child goes hungry, this goes to show how negligent some health care workers can be.
High Fructose Corn Syrup.
The highly refined sugar has many reported side effects (source: Mercola) and is a lousy addition to any food, especially if it is to be considered ‘health promoting’.
In one serving of Ritz crackers there is a whopping 5% one’s recommended daily allowance of saturated fat.
Zero Fiber per Serving.
One of the benefits of eating whole-grain bread is the fiber. How do Ritz crackers make up for that?
The point is that these are the standards young individuals’ lunches are subject to. No emphasis is placed on quality, a dangerous risk for a world facing many preventable health illnesses.
Kristen wrote to Weighty Matters that she had sent along lunches that consisted of “microwave Kraft dinner and a hot dog, a package of fruit twists, a cheese string, and a juice box” and those lunches sailed right through inspection. Lunches like these are acceptable, but homemade, whole-food dinners are not?
What would the consequence be for a child raised vegetarian or vegan? Dietary choices can drastically improve or negatively affect one’s chances of contracting dangerous diseases in the future; but when parental control gets overridden by government regulations, what next is to come?