07 October 2016

Why I Used to Send Pop-Tarts to School

I was sitting in the local elementary school office while Woodjie went to speech.

A mom came in to drop off her child's school snack and pay a computer damage fee. Instead of speaking of what a nice lady she is or anything like that after she left, school staff just snickered about the small bag of Chee-tos she brought being a "healthy snack."

Well, let me tell you something.  Packing a "healthy snack" of fruit or veg is easy enough when you've just shopped, but toward the end of the week, not so much.  It's true that there are prepacked baggies of produce that last a fair while, but these are not economical at all.

Parents also need to be sure it's a food that will pack well and not be damaged by snacktime.  So that usually means prepackaged foods.  You can't pack things like curry and rice and not expect a huge mess to come home or for  your child to "accidentally" throw away a very expensive re-useable container.

So often, kids pack those little sealed cups of applesauce or goldfish crackers. That applesauce, by the way, contains one entire buttload of carbs and is full of high fructose corn syrup.  Just because an apple is a "natural" thing doesn't mean you're not better off eating the Chee-tos.  Any diabetic can tell you that.

Somewhat understandably, they also have to cater to the one kid who has a nut allergy so bad that if something is in the air nearby he's gonna die.  Ordinarily, though, nuts are an excellent and nutritious snack and reasonably economical.  

So let's talk in practical terms. 700 children's parents cannot pack nuts for their children.  They can't pack messy foods.  Often, they cannot pack fruit and vegetables.  School lasts for 180 days.  That's a grand total of about 126,000 snacks that must be somehow healthy, economical, allergen free, easy to pack and remembered each morning.  No wonder kids pack crazy things by mid-year.

When Woodjie went to school?  On top of all that, we had to cater to his milk and egg allergy.  AND pack something that he would actually eat.  That meant Pop-Tarts or Oreos, folks.  That was pretty much it, at least that he would actually eat and not throw away.  There is no point packing a super snack that would make all the teachers think highly of me... to spend all that money and effort... and have it get chucked in the bin and my kid still hungry.

It just really bothers me that here was an involved parent who paid her fines and really cares for her kid, and staff just snicker about her when she leaves.


  1. Love this post!! My son takes a protein/chocolate milk drink (he's not even supposed to take a drink, unless it's water), a chocolate chip cookie, an apple, and a sandwich that has ketchup and cheese on it. That's it. Every day--the same thing and usually the apple and most of the sandwich come home. But considering his meds are in full action at lunch time and that he's ASD, ADHD, and SPD--the school is just lucky he eats at all. This whole healthy lunch crap has gone too far if you ask me. I'm the parent. I buy the food. I make the lunch. I make the decisions. If the school can't deal with that and try to understand where we are coming from--I dare them to say something to me. That will be the day we homeschool!

  2. Even worse for staff to snicker within the hearing of another mother and get outed here.
    Also, as far as I'm concerned, if a child eats a healthy breakfast and dinner (I realise many don't, but mine did) it doesn't matter one bit what they eat as snacks. Most snacks probably get traded anyway.

    1. You'd think they'd censor themselves in front of a parent! Imagine what they say when I am NOT there.

  3. Dry, uncooked noodles were a fad here for several years. Ick. But if they'd eat them I was prepared to pack them.

  4. I love pop-tarts myself. It's a pity people have to be so judgmental even when they don't necessarily understand the situation.

  5. I totally 'get' that! I give my kids snacks that I know they will eat, I don't give a diddly squat how 'healthy' they are! I'd rather give them something they will eat, rather than have it thrown in the bin too. Why are people to quick to judge? Perhaps they haven't had to raise kids? Yeah, that must be it.

  6. You could have told them off Christine as many chalkies have forgotten if their kids are now adult and some never have kids so have no idea. Most parents as you say do their best


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