Thursday, February 10, 2011

School - Rant Alert!

I need to rant, vent and try to calm down. All input on thoughts are appreciated, even opposing views. I may even offend people with my views, but that isn't anything new! I may even go in circles as I write, but that is the reflection of what my brain is doing getting worked up about all this.

We're back at school and into the routine now. Sophie has now started school so it's lunches to go for 2 each morning. Morning tea, lunches and water bottles are packed each day and a lot of thought goes into what I send with the girls. I want them to take a healthy, balanced lot of food to school; protein carbohydrates, fruit, fats etc etc.

But no nuts allowed.

Hmm.

We eat a lot of nuts, foods based on nuts and I think they are such a wonderful source of protein, carbs, fibre, fats, calcium. They can be packed in a lunch box without fear of bacterial contamination or going soggy. 

I understand that there is a very small percentage of children with allergies but I am not sending these foods to be eaten by them. I do not want my children to share their food with anyone and I would assume that the school would tell the children that they shouldn't be sharing their food. These children would be exposed to their allergens in so many places; shopping centres, parks, buses, why does school have to be so different? Are they not told by their parents that they have to be careful? Sophie knows she can't have any cow milk products and she is so good about asking even when I am not around. At parties she asks and then doesn't have those foods with it in.

Where will the list end? What about eggs, dairy, soy, other legumes? Peanuts are a legume not a nut after all. Why do kids without a problem need to change their diets? For those with dairy problems, nuts are a wonderful substitute.

What about vegans and raw foodists? Vegetarians? Other cultures that also eat a lot of nut based foods?

It's interesting that on the DET website (of course I can't find the link now) the nut free is only a recommendation and they can't enforce it. So why make it sound like it is a rule that must be followed? Last year the school said peanuts but a note has come home from the class teachers including tree nuts.

Then there's the practice of birthday parties at school. I'm sorry, but aren't birthday parties for the parents to organise and hold? The number of cakes brought to school and lolly bags handed out is appalling! I object but what can I do? Look like the party pooper parent?  We can't send nuts for our own child to eat but we can send cakes and lollies for everyone to share. But write the ingredient list down for the teacher. If everyone in the class were to do it, that's approximately a party and a lolly bag every 2 weeks, more often in higher years. Let's give the kids sugar at school so they can have a sugar crash later. My girls do not do well on sugar so we don't eat much food with it added, which is another reason I love nuts! If it's the parents organising and holding the party in their own time, I have no problem and I can work the food for the rest of the day around it. Plus on a weekend, they don't need to have such good concentration.

You can't buy cakes, biscuits or lollies at the school canteen as they are red foods which are allowed once a term. No problems, just bring them to school to share around. Stop the sharing of any food! The note that has come home has also said no sugary, carbonated drinks. Well, the canteen sells flavoured milk and juice! They have just as much sugar! But cakes, biscuits and lollies are fine to share around.

My girls don't do fruit break which is at about 10am. We have a good breakfast at about 8 so they do not need anything then. Apparently it's targeted at those who eat early and to encourage healthy eating at school. Wash it down with some flavoured milk from the canteen at recess.

There are too many inconsistent messages about food at school. This may not be the case at other schools. I put a lot of effort into thinking about what I send only to have it all come apart at school.

Excuse me while I go and get the almond, date and cinnamon, sugar and dairy free muffins out of the oven. Pity they can't take them to school! Maybe I need to do choc chip ones for there.



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