Dr. Manny Weighs In on Outrage After School Doesn't Let a 4-Year-Old Eat Her Home-Packed Lunch
By Dr. Manny Alvarez
Are you kidding me?
The “food police” are out, so parents beware.
A North Carolina preschooler came to school with a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips – and her lunch was promptly replaced with chicken nuggets from the cafeteria.
According to reports, a state agent who was inspecting lunch boxes that day decided the girl’s packed lunch did not have enough nutritional value. A regulation put into place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs meet federal nutritional guidelines.
If a child’s home-packed lunch does not meet the standards, child care providers are instructed to supplement the lunch with missing items.
Here’s the thing - I fully understand there are many kids in this country who go to school without a balanced meal for lunch. And even worse, there are also many who go to school without any lunch or without money to even buy lunch.
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So I see there’s an obligation for school districts to make sure nutritional standards are met. I get it, and I get why it’s so important.
But that is completely different from randomly inspecting kids’ lunch boxes and deciding if what’s packed is good enough or not – and then telling the kids what they have to eat instead.