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Thread: Food messages in schools page

  1. #1
    racingsnake's Avatar
    racingsnake is offline Senior Member
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    Food messages in schools

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    My daughter came home the other day with a healthy eating certificate from her primary school (UK). She's 5. They had been coached to bring healthy snacks without sugar that wouldn't rot their teeth. Fair enough. But then I realised that for the previous weeks she had been refusing the cheese she often takes, and after a little probing found out this was because "it wasn't healthy". Clearly due to the high fat content.

    I tried to brush it off, but the more I thought about it the more it bothered me, so I've sent off a letter to the headmaster asking whether there is indeed a low fat message being given to our 5-year olds. I made a couple of points - that focusing young girls on weight really isn't helpful, and that saturated fat is essential for bone formation and hormone production. I thought I'd better not get in too deep, too early.

    Now, as well as a chance to get myself singled out as a nutter, I see this as an opportunity to open a dialogue with the school and perhaps in the long run inject some healthy ideas into our small community as a whole.

    But as anyone who has ever tried to explain this stuff to anyone knows, it's not an easy task. Before you know it, you're up to your elbows in LDL and being dragged off in cuffs for saying that sat fat isn't bad.

    So I'm just wondering if anyone has had experience of anything like this. If perhaps someone has had even a small measure of success in getting across some simple food ideas that are palatable to those thoroughly saturated with CW.

  2. #2
    carlh's Avatar
    carlh is offline Senior Member
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    I know you're in Scotland but for what it's worth the American Heart Association recommends only low-fat cheese. It's a system-wide misconception. Good for you for try to educate people. It's an uphill battle.

  3. #3
    kbn1's Avatar
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    Be careful about arguing with folks who are free from the burden of making sense. Your desire is noble, but I hope you have the patience of Job.

  4. #4
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    spakesneaker is offline Senior Member
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    Oh man, that's awful. Why is the school policing children's lunches like this to begin with?! Granted, the childhood obesity 'epidemic' has gotten a lot worse since I was in grade school... we had pizza/tater tots/skim milk lunches and the school store basically sold sugary trans-fatty junk... but this doesn't seem like the right way of approaching this, to literally reward children for certain foods and punish for others.

  5. #5
    Dragonfly's Avatar
    Dragonfly is offline Senior Member
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    I think you are up against some entrenched CW bureaucracy:
    School Food Trust • The standards - The nutrient-based standards

    Homeschooling always made the most sense to me....

  6. #6
    runnergal's Avatar
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    Instead of fighting the saturated fat angle, talk about the points you CAN agree on. The protein content of the cheese. The calcium.

    Then realize that anyone who eats outside the norm has this same battle. Instead of trying to educate them on primal (a losing battle and frankly not worth the energy) I would have focused on the fact that some of the teachings "are disrespectful to our family's food culture and to please refrain from discriminating against foods vital to our family" Provide a list of snacks YOU consider healthy and as them to respect that when it comes to any kind of "reward system". In the US the threat of cultural insensitivity is usually enough. (hello lawsuit!)

    Then take the opportunity to grab a teaching moment with your daughter that explains that different families have different belief systems and this is what OUR family believes, but not everyone believes the same. This also requires you to show tolerance of other food beliefs. She probably knows at least one vegetarian family or will by the time she is 6 or 7, dont disparage vegetarianism, simply say it is not OUR belief system. Teach her to respect food, religious and cultural choices across the board and you are doing her a favor. Teach her that just because an adult says something it doesnt mean it is the only answer.

    I feel blessed that in my kids tiny school we have probably 10-20% vegetarian, 5% kosher, 20% gluten free, and another 5-10% with some sort of food restriction (T1 diabetes, peanut allergies, sugar allergy etc.) Our school talks about the necessity of healthy foods to make a healthy body and insists that the kids eat "the main part" of their lunch first. The parent defines the content of the main part. The only restriction they have is no candy in school.
    Last edited by runnergal; 03-31-2011 at 07:52 AM.
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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    Metismomma's Avatar
    Metismomma is offline Senior Member
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    Oh yes, the diet portion of education. Its part of the curriculum, so unavoidable by the teachers. I've had to re-educate my daughter on food a couple times already, so she's thoroughly confused
    The only thing consistent is: Sugar is Bad, Vegetables are Good . Its a start.
    Calm the f**k down.

  8. #8
    runnergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Homeschooling always made the most sense to me....
    If I homeschooled my kids there would be bloodshed. I'm not sure on which end. I am not against it - I totally respect people who do it and where we live (PNW) there is a very high % of it. But I would go nuts.
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

  9. #9
    RennieVan's Avatar
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    I hear that!

    Quote Originally Posted by runnergal View Post
    If I homeschooled my kids there would be bloodshed. I'm not sure on which end. I am not against it - I totally respect people who do it and where we live (PNW) there is a very high % of it. But I would go nuts.
    I have always said that if I homeschooled, someone would end up dead. One of them or me! My 10 yr old is always arguing with her friends in the cafeteria about food. Her favorite food is salad...no dressing, thanks! Love it! Her friends have at least three packages of Franken-food in their lunches and are always chastising her for "eating healthy". She comes back on them and tells them that they aren't eating REAL FOOD! She will turn down anything if she finds out it has too much sugar and scans labels in stores for MSG. She's a Grok-star!

  10. #10
    Metismomma's Avatar
    Metismomma is offline Senior Member
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    I've homeschooled. Thats why dd1 is in school now. It was either she go to school or Mommy starts drinking heavily
    Calm the f**k down.

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