Parents Fined for Not Providing a Perfectly Balanced Sack Lunch

Just in case you thought the world was getting a little more sensible:

lunch note

I realize it’s hard to read, so a bigger photo and an explanation of this “ticket” is to be found on the wonderful blog, Weighty Matters. Apparently, all parent-supplied lunches MUST include 1 milk, 1 meat (good luck to the Orthodox Jews who are not allowed to eat both at one meal!), 1 grain, 2 fruits and vegetables. While the lunch from home in this case had homemade roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and some milk, it was missing a grain.

The horror! The school supplemented this meager repast with the princely addition of Ritz Crackers. It also fined the parents for the missing item.

This was in Canada. But remember — the Barenaked Ladies are ALSO from Canada. So we mustn’t judge. – L.

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82 Responses to Parents Fined for Not Providing a Perfectly Balanced Sack Lunch

  1. Ann in L.A. November 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    It’s not just the Orthodox who run afoul of this; two of my nieces have a Hindu mom and are being raised completely vegetarian. My sister-in-law and brother would be furious if someone gave their daughters meat.

  2. Erika November 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    And if you have celiac, too bad for you.

  3. derpdedoo November 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    What is this nonsense? When did we start considering Ritz crackers, with their wonderful sugar and fat content, as a healthy option? Can’t we just provide the children with a cup of flour? Those $5 Ritz better be covered in gold, I can buy a whole box of this snack for $2.

  4. Rich Wilson November 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Not only vegetarians, but vegans.

  5. SnarkyMomma November 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    How on earth do two helpings of Ritz Crackers run $10?

    The Ritz Crackers are the more unhealthy thing in that lunch.

    Just another story in the scary “government knows how to parent better than you” trend.

  6. Christy Ford November 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Canada’s Food Guide is the most outdated thing, I am so embarrassed.

  7. Lisa November 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Um, also there are a whole lot of people who purposefully avoid grains. For goodness sake, schools don’t get to designate what a child eats to this degree.

  8. TaraK November 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Ritz crackers are a poor excuse for a grain. The first ingredient is enriched flour which everyone knows is not real food! They should fine the school for feeding their kid a poor excuse for a grain!

  9. LTMG November 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    The school in question is clearly private. They can make whatever rules they want, and parents can choose whether or not to send their children to selected private schools. If parents don’t like the rule, they need not apply for their children to attend. In my case, very possibly due to the rule about contents of lunches, I would not apply. Orthodox Jewish, Hindu, Seventh Day Adventist, some Buddhist families, and other groups would probably also not apply on account of their dietary requirements.

    Even with private schools, I am very concerned about their taking the concept of acting in the parents’ stead (in loco parentis) too far into areas that have nothing to do directly with education. As a parent, I require of others the ability to be a parent, and all that it entails.

  10. Denny November 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Aren’t potatoes a grain?

  11. derpdedoo November 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Oh, just thought of something else. For low-income families, are they still subject to the fine if they can’t afford to send their children to school without 1 milk, 1 meat, 1 grain, 2 fruits and vegetables every day? And what happens on Pizza Lunch day (do they still do this)? Do the parents get to tax the school if they have the nerve of providing vegetarian pizzas?

  12. Sarah in WA November 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    It sounds like this child got a far better lunch than many I saw when I was teaching. There were some parents who sent genuinely awful lunches: literally candy, chips, and soda. We could try talking to them, but couldn’t really do anything else. Sometimes the school nurse would send a letter about the free and reduced lunch program home to some families, since their excuse for bad lunches was usually cost-related.

    This is clearly overstepping, though. What happened to talking to parents? And what’s this idea about increasing grains? Hasn’t the food pyramid been disproven?

  13. Penny November 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    My son is lactose-intolerant. By this standard, they would be forcing something on him that would make him sick!

  14. Nico November 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Wow that’s excessively controlling and nitpicky. The lunch as is seems perfectly fine to me. How much do they expect a child to eat at a sitting?

    I mean, dietary issues and special requirements/restrictions aside, couldn’t they have added in whole grain crackers at least?

    And the canada food guide: its a guide. Its a suggestion. Its not a law.

  15. Papilio November 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Okay, potatoes are not a grain, but they’re a good replacement AFAIK.

    From what I remember about young muslims not taking chewing gum because of some minuscule pork-based ingredient (the gelatine or something?), I guess cheese or yoghurt would also count as milk for Orthodox Jews.
    But something tells me that school isn’t as… I’ll call it ‘smart’.

  16. K November 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I would assume that the school wouldn’t enforce this requirement if a child truly had celiac disease or was a vegetarian. But it seems like it would lead to a huge waste of food. What about children that don’t like milk and would prefer to drink water? My son is not a big fruit eater, but loves veggies. Unless the school has the opportunity to heat up lunches from home, carrots would get pretty boring day after day. For a long time, he didn’t take fruit because he only likes apples and was missing four front teeth. Does the school fine the families if the kids don’t actually eat the lunches?

  17. lollipoplover November 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    The Food Police! As far as the ticket, the potatoes would count as a grain. Ritz Crackers are a horrible supplement to a lovely sounding lunch.
    Here’s their nutritional info (from
    “Ritz crackers contain little in the way of vitamins and nutrients. One serving contains 2 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium and iron. Each serving contains no significant amounts of vitamin A, C, or any other vitamins and minerals. Ritz crackers are also somewhat high in sodium with 135 mg of sodium per serving, which represents 6 percent of your maximum daily intake. Ritz crackers also contain 1 g of saturated fat, representing 5 percent of the recommended daily allowance but contain no cholesterol.

    And my kids pack their own lunches and eat what they pack.
    They can’t charge me, I take no responsibility.

  18. Ann in L.A. November 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    We also have a family friend whose kid has numerous food allergies–including some that would send him into anaphylaxis. He’s old enough now to read labels and to know what he can and can’t eat, but the teachers are much less likely to be careful.

  19. Craig November 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Are you freaking kidding me? Ritz crackers – processed wheat full of fats??? Thats junk food, not a ‘grain’. Ridiculous on ALL levels.

  20. Donna November 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    That is more food than my kid generally eats at one meal.

    I could see talking to some parents if they constantly sent lunches lacking in nutritional value or too little food but I am perfectly fine with my kids often odd lunches (today she has raw veggies, pistachios and multi-grain chips). For picky little ones who will choose not to eat rather than eat something they don’t want and then completely melt down, sometimes we just have to just get what we can in there.

  21. Warren November 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Would be told to stick their fine and opinions where the sun don’t shine. My kid, my rules, and I will feed them in a manner I see fit. I would send a replacement box of crackers, and tell them to keep their grubby hands off my kids food.

    This is one of those battles worth fighting, and diplomacy is out the window. They lost the option of diplomacy by sending that “ticket” home.

  22. the Duke Abides November 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    A can of “O’Doules” non-alcoholic beer would count as a grain! LOL! What’s the harm in a few crackers as a snack, the rest of the lunch was fine….I’d be getting phone calls from the school and going to meetings…..

  23. Donna November 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    “What’s the harm in a few crackers as a snack, the rest of the lunch was fine”

    Besides the fact that the school overstepped its bounds, the harm is that this is an excessive amount of food for a preschool lunch. My elementary school age kid wouldn’t eat that much. She does, however, LOVE Ritz crackers so they would be the first thing eaten to the exclusion of the more healthy items in the lunch as she got full.

  24. pentamom November 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    I wonder if this is some person wildly misunderstanding the requirement to provide certain things in *school provided* lunches and thinking it means they have to ensure the same things in parent-provided ones?

    Not that such a possibility in any way excuses this, it just occurred to me that such might be the thought process here.

  25. Emily November 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Did anyone else catch the irony of such a bureaucratic note written in such a childish font?

  26. Ravana November 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    “Dear Parent,
    The meal you packed did not contain enough carbs. We know that in this era of childhood obesity it is very important for children to get as many carbs as possible, so we added a bag of salty, high-fat, additive and artificial color filled crackers. You owe us $5 for this 50 cent addition. You are welcome.”

  27. anonymous this time November 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Sounds like they amended their strategy at that school, so hooray for them, because this initial one wasn’t working, clearly!

  28. TM November 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Those of you worrying about your children with allergies and religious restrictions, don’t worry, I’m sure the government (and school) will have an official process by which you can be certified “non-compliant”. And it’s sure to be some simple 50 page document requiring a notarized signature from the parent, 5 witnesses, 2 priests, 2 rabbis and 2 doctors. And it will only need to be renewed once per semester. At your cost of course, and it must be signed by the health care professionals, because it is impossible for you as a parent to determine things about the health of your child without proper trained supervision.

    And you can laugh now, but ask yourself if 20 or 30 years ago you could ever imagine a school having the hubris to:
    a) question a parent’s (normal and healthy) meal choices
    b) take it upon themselves to alter a child’s meal without parental consent
    c) charge the parent for a and b (and charge absurd markups for it)

  29. Stephanie November 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    That’s ridiculous! The kid had a nicely balanced meal without the Ritz crackers.

    While we’re on the subject of healthy eating, I just have to share this tidbit about my youngest daughter’s eating habits. She loves bell peppers to a ridiculous level. We had to make her stop eating them for a couple days because she started refusing all other foods in favor of bell peppers. It’s a really strange feeling denying your kid a particular vegetable, but we needed to remind her that other foods taste good too. Her preschool teacher thought it was hilarious that we had to stop the peppers for a few days.

    I’m just imagining how my youngest would cope with this. I could see her getting into trouble on grains or proteins, as she’s not too interested in many forms of either. Only kid I know who dislikes spaghetti.

  30. Ben November 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Yes, sure the licensing guidelines require meals to include these items, but don’t those apply to the center and not to whatever parents feed their children? Last time I checked parents were required to keep their kids healthy and alive — the occasional missed grain wasn’t supposed to lead them to jail or get them fines.

    How are they supposed to feed kids with gluten allergies or an intolerance to any wheat-like products? They are bound to miss grains from their diet.

    I hope the parents won’t pay up, because whoever gave that ticket has no such authority.

  31. Mel November 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    A prime example of school administration out of control. And hey will do it as long as people tolerate it. I really fear that this is the direction we are headed. Very glad my kids are old enough to not deal with his any more. In no way do I need big brother, sister, aunt or uncle telling me what is nutritionally sound. Those government recommendations for “balanced nutrition” have done a fantastic job of creating an epidemic of overweight, diabetic kids and adults. High carb, low fat nonsense. No thanks.

  32. Karen November 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Okay–if I had to reconstruct a likely scenario here based on my own experiences I would guess that this daycare’s license to operate or accreditation by some larger body requires that they abide by the provincial nutrition guidelines. I would guess further that sometime in the recent past, the school received an inspection visit from the licensing or accreditation agency in which an over zealous inspector cited the school for failing to do this based on the a couple of not so great lunches he/she observed while there. Fearing the consequences if the inspector returned and still found the lunches not in compliance, the school instituted a policy of lunch inspection and fines. Also, they have taken the added precaution of laying in some emergency supplies that they can cram into the kid’s lunches to make sure they have all the elements necessary to pass inspection. (I’m guessing fruit roll ups, cheese sticks, etc.)

  33. Buffy November 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Well, I’m going to be a teeny bit judgy, since Warren is often is often on this site berating US citizens and telling us that Canada has it all figured out perfectly.

    Not in this case.

  34. Samantha November 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Boy, we would be fined every single day by this dim-witted policy. We are gluten-free vegetarians and my kids are great eaters. A Ritz cracker does not a healthy lunch make! GMO soybean oil and high fructose corn-syrup were just fed to that kid.

  35. Warren November 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Nice one Buffy. LOL. Will still prefer fighting a Manitoba school over lunches, than an american school suspending kids for hair colour. My youngest right now has a huge navy blue steak, and her high school is just fine with it.

  36. Linda Wightman November 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Every once in a while it’s good to hear that the U.S. isn’t the only crazy country in the world. But whither can we flee? (I’m of the generation that saw Canada as the place you fled for freedom.)

  37. 20percentcooler November 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I agree, there shouldn’t be so many lunchbox police. However a Ritz cracker is not the most godforsaken evil thing in the world. I’ve also heard about lunchbox police who think that the occasional cookie or can of soda is the most satanic plague tons cast on children of this earth. I think that we should encourage healthy options, but not have “guidelines” for what kids have to (or can’t) take to school, and not get to involved when Mom packs a brownie for a treat or neglects to include a protein.

  38. JJ November 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Does Canada have a different food pyramid than the US? One with Ritz crackers as a major food group? Let me guess, Fluffernutter and Count Chocula are two of the others?

  39. craftykd November 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Oh, gosh, I would go crazy at that… Not really the centre’s fault, but the government ‘regulation’ (I say that as a Canadian… :-)), but the centre staff would unfortunately be the recipients of my wrath…

    I stand by a family’s ‘right’ to eat as they see fit, but I sure don’t like a lot of choices I see. Funny, I always try to follow that guideline just because I thought it made sense, but felt in my heart of hearts it really wasn’t necessary to have a meat, a dairy, and a grain at *every* meal. Fruit and veg we’d probably do well having at every meal, but I don’t even do that…

    I volunteered at my daughter’s school last week, and her best friend gets sent in with the most awful lunches. The day I was there she had three different types of cookies, a jam sandwich on white bread, and a box of fruit ‘punch’… my gosh, the kid is getting by on nothing but sugar, poor thing…

  40. Abby November 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I keep kosher and would apparently have problems with this school. I also know of people who choose to live grain-free or to reduce their intake of grains, because they find that grains are hard on their digestion or their children’s digestion. I also hardly see how Ritz crackers, full of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, could possibly improve the nutritional quality of any meal. How do they count as a “grain” exactly? I’d be furious if I received this letter. I wouldn’t pay one cent of that fine.

  41. C.J. November 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    I think as a parent I would be angry that they just taught my child that their healthy lunch wasn’t healthy and that a ritz cracker is. Crackers are not healthy.

  42. lollipoplover November 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Food is personal for each family. My middle daughter packed pistachios, yogurt, and a pomegranate today. Her older brother wrestles and will eat high protein, low carb (and probably no grains) for the next few months. Youngest likes hot soup most days and isn’t big on eating a lot in one sitting. To pack a lunch that wouldn’t receive a fine would mean food that would not be touched and wasted- I’d sooner pack plastic fruit for these morons to inspect. Keep your grubby, germ-spreading paws off my kid’s lunch!

    Next, the school

  43. Decemberbaby November 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    When I was signing my child up for the toddler program at our school, I was informed that the only way to opt out of having the school cook lunch for my child was to submit a signed note saying that I was opting out of school lunches with the understanding that I was to provide a hot meal with something from each food group. I think this was under Ontario’s day nurseries act. There are similarly ridiculous regulations for other things, too. That said, I can’t believe they charge $5 for Ritz crackers! I’d be refusing to pay that one. I’d probably offer to bring them a box of crackers instead.

  44. Decemberbaby November 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    (I should probably add that the school principal and the teacher of the toddler class thought the regulation about lunches was ridiculously stupid… but rules are rules, so the school makes parents sign that note. I don’t think it’s strictly enforced, though.)

  45. rdmommy November 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    As a Registered Dietitian I understand the concept behind this but the execution is seriously flawed. That lunch was balanced and I’m impressed with the parent’s clearly trying to make it healthy and colorful! While it is important for kids to get all the food groups. It doesn’t need to be at every meal. And yes, my son doesn’t always eat “perfect”. But we manage to get a balance of nutrition through the day. If it were me I’d make a fuss and use it as an opportunity to educate the school (see true RD here always trying to teach about nutrition).:)

  46. darcie November 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Ritz crackers do not constitute a grain! If you’re going to be a diet Nazi at least do a good job. Better yet, don’t be a diet Nazi.

  47. Lisa Jaffe Hubbell November 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Never mind that Ritz Crackers, which do have grain, have virtually no fiber and unless they have changed the recipe recently, have transfat-containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. So the school actually made the meal nutritionally worse. The potatoes provided adequate carbs in that meal. I’d contest it with a note from a dietician and/or a doctor and some peer reviewed literature, along with the nutrition label from a box of Ritz crackers. Seriously. I’m totally pissed now.

  48. Julie November 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    This happened last year in South Carolina too.

  49. SteveS November 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    That is just plain ridiculous, but it sounds like it is a licensing requirement presumably approved by the people. Way to go Canada. You put up with draconian gun laws, free speech restrictions, and now this. At what point will people say that enough is enough?

  50. Timothy Cooke November 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    No. No, no, no. The school is dictating what each student should eat, and fining the parents for not following that to a T? What gives them the right to impose lunch regulations? School-provided lunches, sure, but ones from home? “Nanny state”, indeed! Authorities, whether in the federal government or in a school, need to get their nose out of other people’s lives! Your positions of power do not extend to the lives of those who use your services!

  51. Jenn November 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Most of the students at my school bring Lunchables, bags of chips or get McDonald’s dropped off everyday. Great cash grab…

  52. SP November 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    My kids pack their own lunch (we are in middle school). Even if they packed everything on the list, my social one wouldn’t eat it. He’s too busy talking and brings home a full lunch box every day. And my picky eater won’t eat a fruit or vegetable even if you pay him (yes, we’ve tried everything…). So really not sure what purpose this serves.

  53. SteveS November 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Tim, the problem is that with gov’t healthcare, they have an incentive to make sure your kids don’t develop bad eating habits and obesity related health problems. I am not saying I support this, but I can see why it is being implemented.

  54. AztecQueen2000 November 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    According to those guidelines, a McDonalds cheeseburger would be acceptable (it has lettuce and tomato, so there are your vegetables), but not nearly as healthy.

  55. Emily November 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Another thing–do the schools actually force kids to eat all of their food? When you think about it, that’s not really possible. This thread reminds me of something my school did in grade eight. There were no rules about what kinds of foods we had to, or couldn’t, bring to school, but one day, they had a “contest,” where every student who had something from each of the four food groups for lunch, would be entered into a draw for some kind of prize–I don’t even remember what the prize was. Anyway, I decided to participate, but then asked if I could go across the hall to the computer room and finish an assignment instead of eating. When the teacher objected, on the grounds that I’d “brought a healthy lunch,” I replied that I had, but I hadn’t said anything about eating it. My teacher couldn’t really argue with that, because after all, the contest rules said we had to BRING a balanced lunch, and not necessarily eat it, so I spent lunch time in the computer room that day. Oh, and before anyone accuses me of being wasteful by packing something I wouldn’t eat, I hadn’t packed my lunch that day. My dad had packed it, and he didn’t realize that I didn’t like Cheez Whiz and lunch meat together (pre-vegan). So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, a lot of the time, parents usually pack things they know their kids will eat, and when kids get older, they take over the lunch-making process, and they’ll generally pack things they like, or else buy lunch in the cafeteria or elsewhere. So, I have to wonder, just how many of these “perfectly balanced” meals are going uneaten?

  56. bmjj2k November 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    $10 for Ritz crackers? Like so much else designed to “help” us, this is just a money grab. and also, I would think, an invasion of privacy. Who is the school to look into my child’s lunch box? What’s next- clean socks check?

  57. Meg November 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    I would be so pissed if that was my kid!! Ritz crackers are NOT healthy! Pretty much straight sugar – processed crap! Parents have the right to feed their children as they see fit and that child did not have an unhealthy lunch. With the potatoes, the child definitely did not need the crackers(which again, are not healthy and is just processed crap disguised as food).

  58. SKL November 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Yeah, I’d be telling them what they could do with their fine. And they’d have a note to contact me before they ever try tampering with my kids’ lunch.

    Right now my kids are on a picky kick. My youngest will bring home her lunch box without having touched her lunch, unless whatever I pack fits with her mood that day. So, nowadays she’s taking a white bread and butter sandwich – and a fruit that she probably won’t eat – maybe some pepperoni on the side – and a school milk. It’s still a lot better than the school “hot lunches.” If someone wants to fight or fine me about it, bring it on. 😛

  59. bmommyx2 November 19, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    Hmmm & how exactly does adding some Ritz crackers make for a more healthy lunch. I don’t know the age of the child, but my son is seven & rarely eats much lunch so it really doesn’t matter what I pack. Maybe they would prefer everyone send Lunchables. I’d love to meet the moron who thought up these rules & I would also love to know where the $10 fine goes to???

  60. Warren November 19, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    First of all I get a kick out of all those who skipped over the priciple of the matter, and went straight to their little world of food allergies and such.

    Secondly you take the ticket into the office, inform the admin. “Here is your daily fibre.” and shove it in his or her mouth.

    These rules are mad to shut up the loudmouth soccer moms. The cannot be enforced, unless you just allow them to. If you challenge them, they have to back down.

  61. Tsu Dho Nimh November 19, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    The IDIOTS! Potatoes are right there with bread in the food pyramid or obelisk or whatever it’s called now.

  62. Ladybug November 19, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Warren: and what is wrong with bringing up food allergies or dietary restrictions with this topic? Seems pretty relevant to me. Considering the topic is about the school thinking they know better than the parents what your kid “should” be eating. Which is bullshit because parents know if their kid has a food allergy or food intolerance or religious restriction or moral restriction about eating a certain food and packs their lunch accordingly. I doubt the school is going to be as on top of that. Thus why they should let the parents handle it.

    Are you one of those people that think food allergies are made up and just looking for any chance to get a dig in about it?

  63. Steve S November 19, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Is this a public or private facility?

  64. Tonya November 19, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    My daughter is allergic to both dairy and soy. Her school is required to keep a “proof of disability” form from the doctor on file to avoid being fined because only dairy and soy fulfill the government’s milk requirement for USDA-reimbursable meals.

  65. EricS November 19, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    $10 for Ritz Crackers?! Can you say “CASH COW”. lol Anything to make extra cash. This is all it is. It’s neither a law, by-law, or even provincial or city policy to adhere to the Canadian Food Guide. It’s a “guide”. What about those people that don’t, or can’t eat meat? Those that don’t eat grain because they have gluten issues? And crackers?! Really? If your going to “follow” the Canadian Food Guide, at the very least, provide them with something more nutritional than Ritz crackers. You know how much salt content is in those crackers? Processed “grains”. Additives. Ignorance at it’s finest.

  66. EricS November 19, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    @Ladybug: They don’t know jack. They are just following some guideline. They don’t understand the concept of what guidelines are. It’s a GUIDE, not the end all be all. I’m guessing it’s a private day care of sorts, so this is just a cash cow for them.

  67. Emily November 19, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Yeah, good point about dietary restrictions, for medical, religious, or moral/ethical reasons. Surely the school means “meats and alternatives” when they say “meat,” right? That’s what I thought at first, but when they didn’t recognize potatoes as a “carbohydrate” item that’s grouped with “grains” rather than vegetables (even if potatoes are technically vegetables), then I really have to wonder. When I was in grade two, we did a project on the four food groups, and we were taught that potatoes counted as grains, and “alternatives” such as beans, chick peas, lentils, and peanut butter all belonged in the “protein” group, along with things like red meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. If the school officials don’t know that, then I’d have to question the quality of education they provide there.

  68. pentamom November 19, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    The reason food allergies are relevant is that it could change the matter from something that is unquestionably bad in itself but not disastrous, to something that could kill a child before anybody even had a chance to oppose it. It is possible for something to be bad enough in principle but for the badness to be ramped up by extremely dangerous potential consequences. To say a child could be seriously injured or die is not to deny or ignore the fact that the policy would be bad even if that didn’t happen.

  69. Papilio November 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    @Steve: I can see why the Canadian gov’t would try to do something about that obesity epidemic they have on their hands, regardless of who pays the healthcare. This particular lunch policy is not the right way though. (I’d (also) vote for Dutch quality cycling facilities, but who am I.)

  70. J.T. Wenting November 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    “Not only vegetarians, but vegans.”

    fining vegans for child abuse is a good thing, in fact their children should be taken away and put in foster care so they can get a healthy diet…

    But this thing is over the top. It’s sadly also not uncommon.
    And in places it’s worse. Like schools where the kids aren’t even allowed to bring their own food, are only allowed to consume the “healthy meal” provided by the school, properly adjusted to contain “a proper balanced diet”.

  71. Sarah November 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Firstly Ritz have High Fructose Corn Syrup so I don’t want my kid eating them… second what if they are gluten free third… HOW IS IT THE SCHOOLS BUSINESS?!?!?! I pulled my daughter from her old pre-school for s**t just like this. I sent a string cheese one day and they said it was not an acceptable food and not healthy enough… they also corrected me when I said “mail man” and said I would rather wear a long shirt instead of sunscreen (told me I was wrong in front of my daughter which I strongly disagree with). Since when is it the schools job to parent the parents? Walk a day in my shoes and then STILL LEAVE ME ALONE!!! I digress…

  72. Alison November 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    “The Ritz Crackers are the more unhealthy thing in that lunch.”

    “Ritz crackers – processed wheat full of fats???”

    “salty, high-fat, additive and artificial color filled crackers.”

    “Ritz crackers, full of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup”

    “Most of the students … bring Lunchables, bags of chips or get McDonald’s dropped off everyday.”

    “You know how much salt content is in those crackers? Processed “grains”. Additives. Ignorance at it’s finest.”

    Wow. Don’t know what you guys are all over the school for – there are enough Food Police right here commenting on this site. Seriously people, it’s a Ritz cracker that you’re getting so worked up over. The school was definitely wrong, but calling anyone ignorant for offering their OWN CHILD a Ritz cracker is, well, ignorant too. You can’t say “parents should decide what their kids eat” and then get all up in their business for giving their kid a cracker once in awhile.

  73. Donna November 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Alison – I don’t see a single person calling anyone ignorant for feeding anything to their own children. They called the school ignorant for insisting that the lunch sent by the parent was somehow made MORE healthy with the addition of Ritz crackers.

    I imagine that most people here feed their children (and themselves) some amount of junk food like Ritz crackers, probably even fairly regularly. I hope so anyway. We just have enough sense to know that it is junk food and don’t attempt to pass it off as a healthy grain without which a meal should be found lacking.

  74. Nico November 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    for those wondering, the government doesn’t actually “dictate” our diets to the degree you’re concocting in your heads. This is a daycare rule gone to the extreme.

    Trust me, if you want to eat cupcakes till you explode here, you’re certainly welcome to do so, and not a soul in any agency will stop you.

    Please don’t scream Nanny State when this isn’t the state inspecting lunchboxes. It’s a daycare with a ridiculous interpretation of what a healthy lunch for a child should be, and little common sense in implementing it.

    As a canadian parent, I would leave the staff with more than an earful over a policy like that if a note got sent to me asking for 5 bucks for greasy floury crackers.

  75. Emily November 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    J.T. Wenting–Really? Feeding a child a vegan diet is child abuse? I’m calling shenanigans on that one. I’m vegan, and I still eat a balanced diet–I just put soy milk on my cereal (or more often, in my smoothies) rather than regular milk, I substitute beans, chick peas, lentils, hummus, and peanut butter (plus tofu or soy-based “fake meat” products on occasion) for meat, and I’m perfectly healthy. So, the parent of a vegan child could pack things like a PBJ, or hummus with pita and vegetable sticks for dipping, or a Thermos full of vegetable and bean stew or chili, or cold pasta salad with chick peas, or any number of things made with plant-based protein, in a school lunch, and it wouldn’t be considered abusive.

  76. oncefallendotcom November 19, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    This is Canada, eh? Where’s the maple syrup and Moose meat, eh? What’s that aboot?

    Since someone mentioned beer as “grain,” I’m pretty sure Canada would agree with you on that, eh?

    As fr as the exorbitant prices– well, considering that schools are behaving more like prisons these days, and prisons jack their prices up in commissary, I’d say this is right in line with that line of thinking, eh?

  77. Jane November 19, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    Hey, onceafallendotcom,

    How’s aboot you knock it off with the mean-spirited wisecracks, eh? I’m sorely tempted to sic my polar bear on you, eh?

    -Sincerely, a humorless Canadian

  78. hineata November 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    @Emily – if they are really such diet Nazis – and yes, I know we do have to take peanut allergies seriously – I doubt, sadly, the PBJ would ‘fly’ at most childcare centres these days.

    As for veganism being abuse, J.T does seem to be fairly often well to the right of the political agenda, so my opinions often differ from his/hers, but in fairness this time, if one does not take extreme care, veganism doesn’t seem a particularly sensible choice of diet for children. I have read material from children of ’60s vegans who have suffered lifetime issues from their poor diets during childhood (bordering on malnutrition). However, I gather things have moved on since then, and with proper research maybe you could feed kids adequately as vegans..

    Me, I like my meat too much to even consider it, but I presume you’ve done lots of research on the issue.

  79. Jenna K. November 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I send in my kids’ lunches what they will eat and what I feel is healthy for them. I would be so mad if the school did this. I know there are some schools in the U.S. who have made kids eat a school lunch in replacement for their home lunch, even when the home lunch was fine.

    I’m just sick of the schools and the government stepping into personal lives. If people eat poorly and are overweight, shouldn’t that be their problem? Sure, if our entire nation struggles with it, it reflects poorly on our nation as a whole, but really, it’s still down to individual choice and accountability.

    The schools already have replaced real grades with grades for effort in a lot of areas. Why not do the same here and respect the effort and only help people who truly need help (they don’t know what is healthy and they truly can’t afford food in general–because if you can afford food, you can afford healthy food).

  80. EricS November 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I just found this article about this story. Apparently this incident happened a year ago. Glad to hear the school finally got some common sense and provided more healthy alternatives for the kids. Based on REAL alternatives. Not some half wit reasoning. Just goes to show how thinking for yourself, and assessing the situation based on real education, logic and common sense, can produce much better results. Not to mention speaking up and standing up for what you believe.

  81. Amanda Matthews November 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Uh, that says they started serving hot lunches. So basically they just removed the parents’ choice (of what to feed their children) completely. And how healthy are those hot lunches? With the amount of healthy eating knowledge they demonstrated, I would not trust them to provide a balanced hot lunch.

    That does not seem like a win on the part of kids and parents to me – it just seems like they wanted parents to stop complaining.

  82. NicoleK November 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Stephanie, my pediatrician told me not to worry if my kid got obsessed with a certain food and only ate that for a few weeks or even months, as long as it’s a healthy food. It’ll balance out in the long run.

    Some foods my kid has been obsessed with for a few weeks include cashews, edamame, kale chips, bananas, pasta al pesto, pasta with tomato, yoghurt, and our current favorite is cream of spinach soup.

    So if she’s happy eating peppers, there’s no reason not to let her. She’ll get the other nutrients when she needs them.