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It’s a stock photo, but aside from the nuggets and the chocolate milk this lunch looks good to me — there’s fresh fruit and raw veggies! (photo credit)
I’m sure many of you have already heard about the story of how the a child’s packed lunch was deemed “unhealthy” and the student was given a chicken nugget lunch instead. [Further reading: Preschooler’s homemade lunch replaced with nuggets]
The packed lunch in question consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, chips, and an apple juice. I guess the objection was that there was no vegetable. Um, really? If the USDA considers fries and tater tots as veggies, then why can’t we call it even and say chips are the veggie? So you want to have your cake and eat it too, huh USDA?
Let’s get real. The lunch that the mom packed for her daughter was actually pretty darn good. I pack my son’s lunch and even though I’ve never put potato chips in his lunch, I’ve included tortilla chips and just the other day I put “falafel chips” in his lunch (got them at Trader Joe’s and they are delish). My son eats potato chips at home sometimes. Hey, I love them with a sandwich every now and then. Granted, I buy *real* potato chips — potatoes, oil, salt are the ingredients. It’s practically a whole food, folks. (Insert sarcasm here). Parents should be allowed to pack lunches for their children. I think it’s a right.
I don’t want to go there with the nuggets. We know they aren’t real food. They don’t pass my one question test: Can you make the food in your kitchen? No, you can’t. You can’t process chicken into some kind of weird, pink foam, bloop it out, bread it, and then fry it in the cheapest oil you can find. Yes, you can make homemade chicken nuggets for your kids (cut up chicken, batter it, and then fry it in olive oil), which while they don’t have the spongy texture of a factory-made nugget that many kids have learned to expect, real homemade nuggets are much better for growing kids.
Let’s agree to make it a rule not to force nuggets on kids who come to school with an adequate lunch. You know, I have seen some atrocious packed lunches (a banana and flavored water, anyone?) and I get that staff members want kids to eat balanced meals. But let’s not get overzealous!