I think I've been had. You see, the entire school lunch situation in this house has reached crisis proportions. We've discussed it. We've cried about it (well, not really.) We've fought about it. We've....well, you get the point. And now, for the very first time, I am going to expose the farce called school lunch.
Today's focus: Middle School.
My oldest child has always been a good eater. She loves veggies and fruit, so feeding her has never been a problem - until that mysterious place known as middle school. Granted, she doesn't have much of an appetite at lunch hour, but that's been a workable problem for us in previous years. Some fruit, half of a sandwich, and a drink and she's been happy.
Then she crossed that middle school threshold with its very different lunch options and social pressures, and life changed. The appetite is still small at lunch, but now she can buy pizza, chips, pop tarts, candy, ice cream, and lots of drinks which feature no milk nor fruit juice. Ever wonder what happens to a little appetite when these options get presented?
"Fruit doesn't fill me up like the things they sell at school," she says. I really take great comfort that she can fill up with chips and ice cream. So I suggest that she take a lunch to school.
We shop and discuss the merits of other lunch possibilities.
There are nutrition bars ("Eewww!")
There is yogurt ("I refuse to carry a spoon to my next class!")
There is her old favorite, fruit. ("No one eats fruit anymore.")
There are sandwiches ("They get soggy and no, I will not take the ingredients and put them together at school. Period.")
There is milk ("I don't care how many breath mints I eat, my breath will stink if I drink milk.")
I really should be grateful because she doesn't sit at the "We no longer eat lunch" table. Yes, that's a real table where even if a lunch is sent from home, it is ceremoniously put untouched into the trash.
I really should be grateful that pop is no longer a lunch option.
I really should be grateful that I can control the money put on her lunch card, although even when the card is empty, she always finds money for the junk food there.
I really should be grateful that pizza has some nutritional value, although at $3 per slice, it's a rip off.
I really should be grateful that she gets braces this week and that should limit her eating options (although I understand the girls have perfected the art of removing the sticky candies from their appliances. That way no one will ever know!)
But I wonder what is happening to the bodies of these girls who daily eschew (kind of an ironic word, isn't it) the healthy options for the much more socially acceptable and palate pleasing chips, pop tarts, candy and ice cream? I do know that when my former great eater comes home mysteriously famished at 3:00, and faithfully asks, "What's for dinner?" that no matter what I say, it's a disappointment to her these days.
Thanks, food services department, for the favor.