Guest Blogger: Cool Step-Mom with Veggies at School

First off I want to be known that I am not a blogger or a professional one at that. When I asked Mrs. Q if I could be a GUEST blogger I warned her that it might be misspelled or have horrible grammar but that I NEEDED to share my story!

I am a mother of three. I have a (step) daughter (we will call her MM) who is 7.5 (leaving second grade this year), a son (we will call him PJ) who is 6 (leaving kindergarten this year) and a son (we will call him CM) who will be 3 the end of July. I work way over 40 hours a week. For a little while I also was a high school cheerleading coach on top of my motherly duties and work duties. I am not claiming to be a busy mom because my children are still young but I am busy enough. My reason for writing to the readers is because I recently spent the day with my daughter’s second grade class and had to share with you what I witnessed.
I was originally supposed to escort MM and her class to the local public pool for a field trip. As I was pulling into her school parking lot the teacher called me and said it had been rescheduled for the next day due to weather. I had already gotten the day off for today (June 9th) and knew I couldn’t show up to work in my jean capris. I also knew I would not be able to take two days off in a row, so I told her teacher I would just volunteer in her class all day.
Note: PJ who is in kindergarten is only half day so he comes home to eat every day. MM is the only one that eats at school. PJ was in head start for two years and he HAD to eat the “school lunch” because it was a government based program. I felt bad everyday having him eat that but it does not happen now. MM lives with her mom who happens to be a teacher. Since kindergarten MM has bought school lunch 90 percent of the time, for whatever reason. (Side Note: I am not here to knock on anyone’s preference for parenting.)
I would pick MM up from school almost on a daily basis. We would talk about everything on our trip home. I would ask her about her day and what she had for lunch. In kindergarten almost every day she would tell me hot dog and cheetos with chocolate milk. I complained to not only her mother but to the teacher. I could not believe we were leaving a decision of nutritious meal choosing to a five year old (at the time.) Her mother told me that every morning she gave her the choice of “hot lunch” or cold lunch (sac/homemade lunch) and if MM chose hot lunch they would go through the choices and pick one. I had made the comment that just because she chose the tuna sandwich (for hot lunch) in front of you does not mean that is what she is telling the lunch lady to give her. Also, if you are giving her the choice, after how many times of choosing hot lunch a in a row do you step in. Well, the teacher agreed to start keeping an eye on her and her choices to help. I have not expressed my opinion about it since because it obviously got me nowhere.
This year MM took “cold lunch” a few more times than she did in kindergarten and first grade. Now when I say cold lunch I mean she took a lunch-able. There were still VERY few “homemade” lunches. To get you steered back to my day of volunteering, I made sure that the lunch I made for us (supposed to be for at the pool) was homemade. I have been reading this blog and a few others on healthier lunches for our school aged kids for a little while now. I am so inspired by what MM is going through and what Mrs. Q is going through to make my kid(s) lunch(es) better.
The night before my visit to her class I made our lunch. Now here in the Northeast of the U.S. our vegetables and fruits are now in season and are available at a better price. I have been stocking our house with tons of fresh fruits and veggies. I made turkey sandwiches (real turkey with cheese and mustard) on multi-grain bread. I cut up cantaloupe and watermelon with some grapes. Put some cut up cucumbers and green beans in a bag. Here is the “not so good” part of the lunch I had some “d-animal” (not trying to promote any company) yogurt smoothies and a snack pr-less grease-ingle-chips (get it.)I only packed those last two things because I am a mom and know kids love and deserve to indulge themselves in something “not-so-good” once in awhile.
I am not trying to fool anyone. I keep cookies, chips and snack foods in stock at my house. I have a husband (stay at home dad) and three kids. I know that if I teach my kids that these foods are available at anytime but that it is healthier to choose the grapes more often the cookies (and they do so) then I have done my job as a mother and done it well. Which not to pat myself on the back I have done so. My two boys will eat their veggies before anything else on their plate. My sons will also wake up every morning and have grapes and apple slices for breakfast instead of the sugary cereal I have in stock at the house. My boys know how important a good nutritious meal is. Not having MM that much it is very hard to teach her this. She is learning though.
To get us back in the direction (again.) I was very excited to eat this lunch with MM. When I got to her class she was very excited to see me (she figured since the field trip was cancelled that I was not coming.) She asked me to stay for something (cannot remember now what it was) and I told her I was staying the whole day. The smile that lit up her face made my century. Later on she asked me if we could “go out” for lunch (assuming she wanted BK or McDs as we call them). I told her I packed a lunch for us. Again, the smile that lit up her face was great. You could just see the excitement of knowing how good my lunches are that I pack. In the beginning of the school year she would stay a few nights during the week with us. I would pack her lunch for her with all kinds of yummy good stuff. As lunch approached MM got real excited to see my bag of goodies. I was like Mary Poppins pulling out of our food.
We sat at the cold lunch table. The kids are separated; I assume to make it easier for teachers and lunch ladies, by hot lunch and cold lunch. As we sat at our table, I saw lunch-able(s) at a mass quantity. I actually saw one lunch where the child had a sandwich, two juice boxes, crackers, a full size Milky Way bar and two snack size whoppers. I guess her parents thought the candy where good trading material? The child next to MM had a “nacho lunch-able, the child across from her had one also. The child directly across from MM had a cracker lunch-able and the child across from me had a homemade lunch. As soon as I started pulling our lunch out MM’s “cool” status broke the meter. So many of the children “ooooeeed” and “aaaaaahhhhed.” Right away the stock market exchange began. I saw hands go up with their item of trade and the bargaining being shouted. MM kept looking at me not knowing if it was okay. I ignored the offers and MM followed my example. We ate our lunch as the kids looked at theirs and realized how “un-cool” it really was. Eventually MM started handing out some of the fruits and veggies so that her “cool” status could remain. I even had one of the kids asking for the (fresh) green beans I was eating.
My point to this whole story is that if you pack it they WILL eat it. I hear so many times from parents “oh if I pack those veggies/fruit they will just throw it away or trade it away.” This brings me back to what I said earlier. Yes, my children love to eat the “not-so-good” stuff but I have TAUGHT them when to make those choices and how much to make those choices. As parents we have to teach our children how to be sensible. I know we already have so much on our plates as parents to teach but this is so important. Sp what if your child has a great metabolism or not they still need to eat healthy for their body. MM will be 8 in September and her waistline can still fit in a 3T pants (height wise she cannot). She has a great metabolism. It does not mean that she can eat junk food for the rest of her life and not die from a heart attack weighing 100 lbs. This happens on a daily basis. Again I am not saying that the occasional (I try to limit it to 2 unhealthy snacks a day) indulgence in a brownie or handful of chips is bad. I am saying that the processed food and “cheaply-made” lunch-ables are not healthy 3,4 or even 5 times a week.
I understand a lot of us are in hard times. I have a family of 5 that lives on a $34,000 a year income. I am by all means saying just because you get free or reduced lunch due to income, or because lunch-ables are 10 for 10 does not mean you need to do it every day. I could easily let PJ get his “free lunch” from the school next year. Our income sure enough qualifies us, but as a mother it is my job to TEACH my kids that eating like that does not give our bodies the nutrients to survive on the playground for recess. Or the energy to run in T-ball after school. At first I did not see that my kids were listening or understanding the big words I was projecting at them. Until, one day PJ was telling me he was going to have applesauce instead of a cookie because he wants to be able to play flash light tag later. MM told me that she was choosing the salad bar and sandwich at lunch now instead of the pizza or pancake sticks (how is that a lunch anyway) because she wanted to make good decisions for her brain power. As parents when we hear these statements from our children we know we have done our job. I am begging you to TEACH your children about nutrition. Offer them a cupcake and grapes but tell them how the grapes will help with brain power to read or leg power to run faster at recess. Tell them that the cupcake looks better and sure does taste better but will slow them down in the game of tag later. Be creative really!
I want to point out again I am not here to judge. I did not know how to teach my kids at first but I am getting there. It is people like Mrs. Q and her guest bloggers that have been inspiring me to get creative with my kids. I personally follow another blog found here http://bentolunch.blogspot.com/ that helps me really be creative on what to make. I might make you mad or annoy you or inspire you, but if I do anything with this guest blog I hope I bring to your attention that kids want to eat well and they want to learn about eating well. Even if I cause you to rethink how you make your food at home or pack their lunches, please remember you show them or teach them they will listen and learn.
Happy packing
Mrs. C
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35 Responses to Guest Blogger: Cool Step-Mom with Veggies at School

  1. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    As a product of divorce I feel compelled to tell you to respect MM's mothers choices more.

    If MM eats a crappy lunch all through grade school, she will turn out okay, I promise. I did. (Obviously if she was obese now this would not be the case, but clearly she does not have that problem.)

    She is more likely to have problems if the adults in her life can't respect each others parenting. Let her mom choose how she eats, no matter if you think its wrong and don't comment. Do not make any negative comments about her moms choice in front of her. Emotional turmoil is way worse than a school lunch.

  2. Viki June 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    crusing bento blogs is actually how I found Mrs. Q's blog.
    One of my favorites is http://lunchinabox.net/
    another great site full of recipes and ideas for lunch (and even a newsletter) is http://www.laptoplunches.com/

    I recommend both sites.
    The Site Mrs. C recommended has some great ideas and I love the muffin tin idea.
    When the girls where small I used ice cube trays to put snacky foods in the fridge. a few grapes a cube of cheese, a strawberry…bits of this bits of that…healthy food that when a child said they were hungry they were allowed to eat out of that tray before dinner (while I was cooking)
    MM was lucky to have an adult in her life spend the whole day with her at school. Be glad that she welcomed you that she looks up to you.
    Do you think if you had not been sitting next to her that she would have traded for some of that candy though?
    Due to food allergies at the preschool I teach at there is absolutely no food trading.

  3. Jackie Danicki June 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I love this post. It contains the central idea that I find sadly lacking in many of the posts here: the fact that, ultimately, it is up to parents to…parent their children! You cannot leave this to the government or whatever school (private or otherwise) your child attends. Teaching your children is YOUR job. Just because they go to school to get a rounded education does not mean that parents leave their responsibility at the school door.

    Mrs. Q, don't get me wrong: I love your blog. But I think this guest blogger nails something really important. Even if the schools were currently doing a good job of producing healthful lunches, I cannot imagine leaving something so crucial up to the whims of elected politicians and bureaucrats.

    Education starts at home. I applaud this stepmother for not abdicating this responsibility to strangers.

  4. RF June 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Also as a child of divorce (and several step-parents who tried too hard to be the "cool" one), this post completely turned me off.

    However, I did like the point about teaching children WHY healthy food is good for you. We don't eat vegetables because we "should", we eat them because we want energy to play games and brains to ace our tests.

  5. Melanie L June 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    I liked your guest blog very much, Mrs. C. You did a great job, and I hope you post again.

    I like my junk food, sure, but on the whole I'd rather eat healthy. And most of the time I do. When I was in high school, my lunch period was a couple hours before dismissal. I got a dollar, no more, and it wasn't enough for the school lunch. My mom? Pack a lunch? Or have food at home I could pack? Yeah, right. Not in this lifetime. So I ate a pretzel, chocolate eclair ice cream bar, and chocolate milk. So horrible, I know. But when I got home around 2:30, I ate a "real" lunch. I did ok. Had plenty of energy, got good grades. It worked out. But I can't imagine eating day after day what Mrs. Q ate.

  6. Elye June 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Great post! I like how all the kids wanted yours and your step-daughter's lunch! I had a similar thing happen to me. Recently, I went out to eat with my friends at this diner. We're all 17-19 years old and all of them chose to order burgers, fries, mozzarella sticks, and other fried foods. I ordered a fruit salad since I'm vegan and wasn't particularly hungry. Guess whose plate everyone was stealing fruit off of? 😉

  7. Therese June 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Jackie I think you found the point to this post! There was ONE paragraph about raising awareness to the "other" parent and it did not CRITISIZE the other parent, it just said that she was concerned (not trying to be the cool parent), but that is all some are choosing to see! Kudos to this post and many more like it!

  8. Mrs. Q June 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    I'm a child of divorce and I am not offended (I even have a step-mother!).

    @Jackie — Parents need to teach their children. This post also points out that the nutrition education from home is lacking. Many parents are struggling with how to feed their kids and "lunchables" are no substitute for a good lunch. If we removed government supplied school lunches from the equation, tons of kids would get little to no real food from home. Nutrition, not obesity, is a national fail.

    Parents are part of the problem and part of the solution. But do schools have "clean hands" on this issue? No. They are failing because they offer overly processed foods and little to no fresh foods. Schools need to be able to say that they are not contributing to the health problems in this country and from what I see, they have "dirty hands."

  9. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    I did not like this post. It is very condeming and judgemental. You have no business giving food to children other than your own at school. First off you run a risk of allergies. At my school there is a student allergic to bananas; who ever heard of that? You don't know what these kids can eat. Secondly most schools have a no compition rule with the school cafeteria. Basically you can provide food for your child but you can not compete with the school lunch for other kids. Many districts won't allow sharing or trading for these two reasons.
    You also aren't taking into consideration the novelty factor. The kids were interrested because what you had offered something new and different. I am a kitchen manager. I am fortunate to work in a district that is trying to encourage healthier eating. All of our elementy schools have a fresh fruit and vegetable cart available daily. It is unlimited. Still a great number of our students choose to take only the entree and a milk each day. This behavior seems to become worse as the children age. I offer a minimum of 5 choices daily. Usually fresh apples, oranges, or bananas, a canned fruit, salad, carrots and brocolli. I rotate other fresh items in as it is economically feasible. The first time I serve grapes each year we need 4 cases (that is enough for every student to have 2 "servings" of grapes). The second time I will have leftovers out of ordering two cases. Yes we need to teach our children. Parents need to teach them. But it is not the position for the school to "force" healthier eating. Our district tried that. The kids who could afford to pack a lunch did. The district lost a lot of money. The free and reduced kids took a lunch, threw it out, and ate at home. I bet they were real productive in the afternoon classes. Now we try to stike more balance. We offer several entrees each day all varying degrees of healthfulness. In the kitchen we want the kids to choose better options so we try to come up with ways to encourage those choices. Still on chicken nugget day it doesn't matter what you searve along side. 95% will choose those nuggets. Unfortunately the majority of america eats the same things we are serving in our schools. The wealthy eat it because after a long day it is easier to go out or let the child choose than it is to argue and teach. The poor eat it because it is cheap. Until this changes it doesn't matter how much hoopla you create around the issue, nothing will change. It is better that our children eat something than nothing is the attitude our school boards are forced to take.

  10. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    This is my least favorite post. Something about it just didn't sit well with me. It seemed extremely critical, and I was very turned off by the comment that even though your child may qualify for free or reduced lunch doesn't mean they should use it. Many of these families qualify for the free or reduced meal program because they would have difficult feeding their child otherwise.

  11. Mackenzie June 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I was part of the first wave of kids taking Lunchables to school (I remember when they were a new novelty), but I can still relate to being the envy of the whole lunch table because my grandma would also put in special touches. I was never more popular than when she packed a whole dill pickle for me as a treat.

    Also, while the author of this post may say she's not here to knock on anyone's parenting, she's certainly implicitly critical of MM's mom. For the sake of this post, I think that criticism is valid, but from experience I hope these talks about MM's lunches aren't taking place in front of MM. A kid doesn't know when criticism is valid — they just know you're dissing their mom. That's a good way for resentment to blossom.

  12. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I did not like this post, either. I thought it was very snobby and passive aggresively critical of MM's mom and her food choices. I would be furious if a visiting volunteer mom gave my child food to eat that I did not pack, and 'schooled' them in their version of nutrition. My kid is allergic to most green vegetables, by the way.

  13. Rebekah June 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I'm a Step Mom, well full time bonus mom is how I prefer it. Our Birthmom is gone, has no custody and should have visits but has left the state. I have been full time bonus mom to my now 9.5 year old son since he was about a year old. I have ALWAYS been so proud of the great food I give him. His Birthmoms idea of breakfast, and I'm not kidding, is corndog, tater tots and a blue slushy from Sonic. Kudos to you for giving your SD some great and wonderful food! I have gone to eat lunch with mom son before and I have seen the same kinds of lunches that you describe and it really saddens me. I do my best to make sure my son is not eating those kinds of lunches, I pack every day.

    Rebekah @ http://www.kidsdoeathealthy.blogspot.com

  14. Carol June 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I think too many are taking this post way too personally! Mrs C never once said she "dissed" MM's mom for her choices; to the contrary, she said she sat down with MM's mom and discussed what MM was eating and how the choices were being made. In my eyes, that appears to be concerned, cooperative parenting. As for Mrs C's statement about not having to accept government-subsidized/free lunches, she is merely making the point that it is an "option"–not a requirement–to participate in such a program and shows that with her income and family size, even though she qualifies, she chooses not to. Again, Mrs C is showing an aspect of responsible parenting and choices that one makes. I presume (and this presumption is from personal experience) that in order to have one thing (in this instance, the ability to provide healthy "cold" lunches) other sacrifices are made (for instance, less home luxuries, etc.). Before anyone jumps all over my comment, I realize there are some people whose family income is much less than what Mrs C shared in her post and the government-subsidized/free lunches may be the best meal that their children receive. Again, Mrs C's comment was just stating that she made a choice and is able to make that choice.

    I have seen time and time again nieces, nephews, and friends' children eating their veggies–cleaning their plates and asking for more–after being told by the parents that the kids "don't like vegetables". I have commented on that point before . . . I have seen parents project their own vegetable/fruit dislikes onto their children. Often, when a child is out of that environment, they EAT fruits and veggies. For instance, my niece (3-years old at the time) spent a weekend with me and ate grapes and other fresh fruits. The following was shared with me by her parents: After returning home, my niece was grocery shopping with her mom and asked her mom to buy grapes. Her mom's response was that she [my niece] didn't like grapes. My niece stated that she did and she had had them at my house. Her mom bought the grapes and my niece devoured them when they got home.

    Another situation: A friend asked me to watch her daughters (then 8 and 4) for a weekend. The girls came over and we made homemade pizza–whole wheat crust and all the fixings. My friend knew I was going to make pizza with her daughters and told me that her daughters didn't like "veggies" on their pizza–only cheese. I took the girls with me to the store to pick up the "toppings" and asked for their input on what they wanted on their pizza. Can you guess what they wanted? Fresh mushrooms, black olives, pepperoni, diced peppers, onions (and cheese and sauce, of course). Not bad for two little girls who don't like veggies on their pizza! They LOVED it . . . and even more, they loved helping make it. The younger of the two had a blast mixing the dough, and her sister helped with the cutting of the veggies. And, of course, they enjoyed the "decorating" part. Even more, though, they LOVED that they made a pizza from scratch and wanted to save some to share with their mom and dad — which we did!

    Bottom line, it has been my experience, if you expose kids to healthy options, they will make healthy choices. Kids aren't as adverse to the "good" foods as many adults seem to think. Take the time to grow or purchase the fresh foods (check out local farmers' markets), buy in season so that you get the best prices, and use those fresh foods in your meals and as snacks. STOP supporting and growing the processed foods business. And stop making excuses.

  15. Jackie Danicki June 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Mrs. Q: I did not say that schools have "clean hands". Quite the contrary! It's time for people to stop counting on those who have gotten us into this mess to get us out of it. You can't achieve radically different results with the same cast of characters.

    On the free lunch program, I recommend this very enlightening piece by Virginia Postrel. It's from 1995 but as relevant today as it was then. http://reason.com/archives/1995/06/01/food-fight

    Some points to ponder: Why are schools in the cooking business? How many parents are truly incapable of slapping a sandwich together and throwing it in a bag with an orange and some nuts? Of those parents who can't afford any food for their kids, how many of them are not using food stamps and thus not feeding their children at all? Why do federal regulations stipulate that school lunches must be hot?

  16. PB and Jess June 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Regardless of how I feel about this post overall, I have to agree that it is a parent's responsibility to teach good eating habits. My mother did it with me and I am thankful to this day.

  17. RF June 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    My apologies, I should have clarified why I do not like this post. I am not offended by it, but was extra sensitive to the parts where she was critical of the mom's choices (allowing hot lunch, having very few "homemade" lunches) and also very condescending (my sons are great, MM is still learning). I felt like the stepmom was trying to be "cool" by emphasizing the eyes lighting up and the un-cool of other kids' lunches. Most 7 year olds pick up on that type of separation, so I felt for MM.

    And I realize it's out of the scope of this blog, but many children get free/reduced breakfast AND lunch at school. Packing two separate fresh, homemade, healthy meals for each child for less than "free" can be very difficult for even two-income families.

    As I said, Mrs. C made some good points in her post as well. But the overall tone seemed judgmental to me, and overwhelmed those points.

  18. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    This was a great post!! I do think school lunches need to improve, but so do parents. Parents need to take responsibility and teach their kids how to make healthy food choices. If one child's mother isn't taking that responsibility, then I think it's great that the child's other parents step in to do the job.

  19. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    I think a lot of you are getting too wrapped up in the whole "stepmom judging real mom" thing and missing the point of this post, which is actually pretty important.

    I could complain about all the spelling and grammatical errors, but I'm not (well, I suppose I kind of just did) because that's not what the post is about.

    She's trying to encourage parents to educate their kids on what they should be eating, and illustrating that if you feed them good food, many times they'll actually eat it! And a lot of parents think their kids just won't eat healthy food, but maybe if they actually tried harder to inform them why they should eat it, they'll understand and choose to do so.

    Mrs. C, maybe if you tell this story again, leave out the stuff about the girl's real mom so people don't get sidetracked and miss the point of the story. :-/

  20. Kelly June 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    This post certainly rang true for me! My stepson (he's 8) has an "interesting" mother. Hubby and I have custody of him and she sees him a couple times a year. We always hear very unique tales as to what he's eaten while with her. She doesn't cook. At all. Once on a day he came back to us from a visit to her I asked him when he last ate (to see if he needed a meal ASAP) and he told me he last ate at breakfast. I asked what he ate and he told me "Gingersnap Cookies". Clearly knowing what my reaction would be, he said… "But they are HEALTHY cookies… my mom showed me on the box that it said 'Low Fat'!" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

    The sad part is that he's a GREAT eater of fruits and veggies and most other nutritious things! Luckily he's with us almost all the time, so we can shape his concepts of "healthy". Frankly, I may not be as popular since I don't serve cookies for breakfast, but at least I know that what I'm doing will give him the right start in life. THAT is the job of a good parent!

  21. Anonymous June 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    I want to just chime in and say while I love this blog (been following it from the beginning), the stepmother passive-aggressive criticism turned me off immediately. It detracted from the whole experience of the article, but that's my personal opinion. As you said, your sons are different from your "still learning" stepdaughter, and every child is different. Also, she was with you and you had made the lunch, you also chose to ignore requests to trade and she followed your lead.

  22. Anonymous June 24, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    why is it necessary to stress that the oldest child is a STEP child? really stuck out to me in this story.

  23. Anonymous June 24, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    Stepmothers, Fathers, Mothers,

    One thing waay more important than school lunch that far to many people need to be reminded of:

    Never say anything negative, critical, or anything that could be construed as much about one another to your child. Stepmothers, that mother your are critical of, no matter how absent they are, will always be related to your child. Trust me, even if a child knows the comment is true, they do not want to hear it from someone who is also supposed to be their parent.

  24. Rebekah June 24, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    Kelly,

    I could have written your post!
    🙂

  25. Carrie June 24, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    As a Step-child, Mom and a Step-Mom I totally, 100% love this post! My husband and I have my Step-Daughter @3 days a week. She prefers to pack lunch alot. Her mother has been known to pack a lunchable, chocolate teddy grahams, juice box, chocolate pudding, and oreo cakesters all in one lunch while giving her money for chocolate milk and ice cream. I saw it with my own eyes when I went to eat lunch with her unannounced. It is very hard when one set of parents do nothing at all to promote healthy eating and the other parents hard work gets cancelled out. We do our best to show her how to eat healthy when she is here but to no avail it is failing. She turns 8 tomorrow and weighs 100 pounds. This post has really nothing to do with step parenting it is just showing how important it is that ALL parents take nutrition seriously!

  26. Karin June 24, 2010 at 4:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing 😉

    I live in Australia, and had never even heard of lunchables – had to look them up on Wikipedia!

  27. Anonymous June 24, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    First of all… maybe she was so happy her SD's eyes light up because it made her feel good that her SD was so happy to see her. It isn't easy being a "step" either way.
    Second… her comment about her SD not making healthy choices as quickly as her sons may not have been a reflection of her seeing her children as better and smarter. I thought she was making this comment because she doesn't have full time (or even half time) custody so doesn't have as much time to spend with her SD.

    Bottom line. She is a parent to this little girl and has every right to be concerned about her health.

  28. Julia June 24, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    I don't know where in the article she said that she voiced her concerns about MM's mom's food choices directly to MM. It seems to me she tries to promote healthy eating with MM naturally as she does with her two other children without it being about MM's mom's choices. It also seemed she actively involves MM's mom in parenting choices and has a good dialogue with her.

    The responses seem way out of line and too knee-jerk. Of course she is critical of MM's mom's choices – so is everyone who reads and supports this blog and wishes for better food choices for children! There is no way around it! But there is a difference between being critical and being rude – and I think people are drawing the connection between the two based more on their personal experiences than on any facts.

    Way to go, Mrs. C! I saw exactly what you meant!

  29. Mrs. Q June 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Parenting a stepchild is challenging for sure. One of the great things about a blog is "spouting off" a little about things and being honest in a forum that is anonymous. So I wouldn't judge too harshly. It's a blog!

  30. Kim June 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    I, too, am a child of divorce and remarriage and more divorce and more remarriage and on and on…. I loved this post and did not get the impression that Mrs. C criticizes MM's mom whatsoever in front of MM. Believe me, I can smell that baloney a million miles away and it reeks!

    Mrs. C, I loved, loved, LOVED reading your post! You're a natural at being a good parent to all kids no matter whose loins they sprang from. You have a gift when it comes to nurturing kids.

    Lots of commenters have expressed the opinion that a child's nutrition is the responsibility of the parent, not the school. In a perfect world, I agree that that's how it should work but the reality is that many parents don't know what constitutes good nutrition. Case in point….a friend of mine recently expressed concern to me that her toddler was eating mostly fresh fruit and would eat little else (before this child came into her life, I don't think I ever saw a piece of fresh fruit in her house). My friend said she wished she could get her daughter to eat some Chicken McNuggets so she could get something nutritious into her. I don't blame the poor kid. I can't stand those things either! My friend is just plain clueless when it comes to good nutrition. That's probably the case with many parents who send their kids to school with stuff like Lunchables and Twinkies.

    I hope you post again, Mrs. C! I know I'm being redundant here, but I really loved reading your story.

  31. Anonymous June 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    I had a problem with this post. I agree with many of the commenters that it seemed passive aggressive and critical. One major problem I had was when Mrs. C talked about her step-daughter's pants size. Is she stressing healthy eating because she is concerned about the child's health or beauty?

  32. Mendy June 25, 2010 at 1:48 am #

    To put it bluntly – too many parents (rich and poor alike for many unfortunate reasons) don't take good care of their kids – especially feeding them. The schools have to do a better job and they won't do it unless someone "convinces" them it's good for the school (or maybe test scores!).
    All kids deserve to eat well – not just the ones with great parents. The parents, teachers, school cooks, etc. who care and know better have to convince the schools to do better when it comes to feeding kids. It will help all of us in the long run.
    And why do lunches served in school have to be "hot" every day? Good question, Jackie D.!

  33. Michele June 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    What is a "homemade" sac lunch?

    I work full time and have two part time jobs. My daughter is 11 and active in school activities. During the school year, I opt for the school lunches. They offer a variety of items from chicken legs, soup/salad, shepards pie, mac n cheese, spaghetti and bbq. Of course, there are chicken nuggets, hot dogs and pizza offered.

    Each month we get a menu. My daughter and I sit down and she marks off the lunches she wants to buy. They come with a drink and a side (veg, fruit cup, cookie) The other days she will pack or order a slice of pizza. The "tray" lunches cost $2.50.

    Today she went to summer day camp and I had to pack a lunch. It included drink, string cheese, turkey sandwich, applesauce and cookies. I made the sandwich but all the other items were bought and are packaged.

    I am regular reader and did not care for this post.

  34. Lucy's mom June 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I'm late on this because work has been crazy and I am catching up here on a Saturday morning.

    The message of the post is fine but I agree with many other posters that the tone is off-putting. The author does sound very passive-aggressive and it detracts from what she is saying about promoting healthy eating.

    But I'm ok with it, Mrs. Q can invite anyone she wants to guest post – it's her blog. I will still read but if I see something up from this author again I will probably skip it for that day.

  35. Dawn June 29, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    For the parents who can afford it, it would probably be nice to try to pack a few extra veggies in their child's lunch that can be given away. There are many children who depend on the school lunch for any nutrition and knowing you gave enough for your child to share would be an excellent feeling. Nothing else maybe more children will go home and tell their parents what fruits and veggies they have learned to like and will wind up eating better.

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