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.