Parents, did you know that the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches in pre-kindergarten programs to meet USDA guidelines? This means that lunches must be made up of one serving of meat, milk, grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables – this includes home packed lunches. While this may appear ‘caring’ at first glance, evidently some state workers think that taking a child’s lunch away to replace it with ‘healthy’ chicken nuggets is the right thing to do.
Preschooler’s Lunch Didn’t Meet with USDA Guidelines, Replaced with Chicken Nuggets
A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School recently had her lunch, made up of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice, revoked due to lack of nutrition and was fed chicken nuggets instead. The girl’s mother said the school sent her a note stating that children who don’t bring a ‘healthy lunch’ to school are offered the missing portions — for a lunchroom fee.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County. She goes on to tell the Carolina Journal, “What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly. I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
There are a few issues here: while the child’s lunch wasn’t the healthiest of lunches, was it really correct to take it away and replace it with chicken nuggets? Fried MSG-containing pseudo-meat should not be the first choice in ‘making up’ for a child’s lack of nutritious lunch. Secondly, does the school have the right replace a child’s meal, or is the responsibility in the hands of the parents? Additionally, was the child’s lunch so terrible that a state worker actually had to intervene and supply the student with greasy chicken nuggets?