Parent fined for “unbalanced” meal; lunch “supplemented” with Ritz crackers

A Canadian mom was fined $10 ($5 per kid) by her day care for her children’s lunch being “unbalanced.” She sent leftover homemade roast beef, potatoes, carrots, orange and milk. Because the meal lacked a grain (a requirement for each meal along with a one milk, one meat and two fruits/veggies) it was “supplemented” with Ritz crackers.

I’m not going to be delusional, my kid has gotten crackers before, even the not so healthy Ritz crackers a time or two. But I certainly wouldn’t want to count that as a “grain,” especially one that I’m charged $5 for.

Chicken, red peppers and spinach -- an example of a kind of meal Miles may have had at daycare with the addition of a fruit for dessert.

Chicken, red peppers and spinach — an example of a kind of meal Miles may have had at daycare with the addition of a fruit for dessert.

I had a similar experience with this when my son was in day care when we lived in northern Indiana. I didn’t want him to have juice, at all. And the day care served juice throughout the day. When I made the request they told me I had to have a note from my son’s doctor that said he couldn’t have juice. The reasoning — the juice was counted as a fruit that made up the “balanced” meal. I sent lunch for Miles each day — all homemade baby food and then as he got older homemade (and healthy and whole food) meals. I didn’t need juice to be his fruit. I typically sent mango, papaya, grapes, oranges, kiwi or some other actual fruit to him as opposed to a sugary fruit drink full of empty calories.

The mom referred to in this story (http://www.weightymatters.ca/2013/11/parents-fined-for-not-sending-ritz.html) said a parent could send a meal of “microwave Kraft Dinner and a hot dog, a package of fruit twists, a cheestring, and a juice box” fulfilling the nutritional guidelines.

It doesn’t take rocket science to compare that meal to one of homemade roast beef, veggies, an orange and milk and realizing which one is the healthier option.

What kinds of food issues have you come across at your child’s school or day care?

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