Departing from my usual blogging topics, I read an article in today's Wall Street Journal on the nouveau chic approach to school lunches. I would be an abysmal failure in preparing school lunches under today's new requirements. I prepared my younger daughter's lunches every day that she was in middle and high school. (My older daughter will never let me forget that I never made her lunches.) My lunches usually consisted of a sandwich of meat and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, a juice box, fruit, a vegetable like carrot sticks, a snack item (cookies, chips) and sometimes, even a candy bar.
Today, I would get a grade of F since no nuts, no candy, no snacks, no plastic sandwich bags, no disposable bottles and zero trash are allowed at many schools across the country. There are some schools that permit candy, but the lunch monitors will move the students to another area of the lunchroom to consume those "politically incorrect" chocolate kisses, M&Ms and gummy bears. Some school districts have compost piles for leftovers under their no waste policy. Wow! In the article, some parents prepare their child's lunches as they are preparing dinner. The preparation process is that time consuming. You have to wash, rinse and dry all of the reusable lunch containers and then prepare the tuna sushi rolls, cantaloupe bits, pureed fruit, hummus and 100% whole wheat crackers, organic carrot sticks and a hard boiled egg. School lunches shouldn't be that complicated, but now they are.
The entire school lunch issue is an area where I am torn. The nanny-state approach is troublesome, but the health and wellness of our children is critical. Some of these regulations seem and are extreme, but the obesity of our kids and nut allergies can be killers over the long term and the short term. Today's schools have a difficult task ahead of them to protect the kids and the environment while balancing the wishes of the parents.