Holy OMG! Forget the fact that she addressed a child with this issue instead of calling/emailing the parent, and let's just focus on the fact that I was blasted as an unhealthy snack sender.
In order to understand the situation, we need some background. Our school requires a healthy snack to be sent every day. There are only 5 rules:
- The snack must be able to be eaten in less than 5 minutes.
- The snack must be able to eaten neatly and quietly
- The snack must be "healthy."
- The snack can not contain nuts
- The snack can not be fruit snacks, granola bars, or fruit "leather" as these are considered candy
Because I've been playing this game for the last 3 years, I would also add the following 2 rules:
- The snack must survive a backpack trip to school.
- The snack must survive 6+ hours without refrigeration (snacks are packed at 7:30am and eaten between 2-3pm.)
This sets some pretty stringent limits. I would prefer to send one protein food and one carbohydrate so that they have adequate nutrition at snack time, but proteins do not travel well. Except for nuts - see rule #4.
These rules basically mean you can send non-crunchy fruits/vegetables or cracker type foods.
Last year we were told not to send apples or carrots - too much crunching.
So what did I send that was so offensive that the teacher had to call her out on the unhealthiness?
I'm actually embarrassed to say because it was apparently so bad that I should get the crap mother of the year award. But here goes.
Day 1: A mix of rice flake cereal (think special K) and freeze dried strawberries
Day 2: A trail mix of plain cheerios, raisins, and chocolate chips (remember - no nuts allowed!)
Oh the horror!!! I am the first to admit, that cereal is garbage. I hate cereal in more ways than I could blog about, but my kids like it and I sometimes make trails mix type snacks for them that contain unsweetened cereals and some sort of fruits and nuts.
Granted, it's not perfect, but I wasn't going to pack this same type of snack every day.
I would much rather pack them a boiled egg and a peach. Or a string cheese and some grapes. Or a trail mix of raisins and walnuts. Or a chicken wrap.... None of these things would follow the rules. A peach would die in the backpack and the juiciness nixes it for messiness. Egg=messy (at least with my kids) and it wouldn't last without an ice pack. Same with cheese. Ditto chicken.
Grapes and raisins are about the only things from the above scenarios that would pass the test - and they don't provide enough volume, calories, variety for a well rounded snack.
Or at least that was my opinion...until the teacher said my snacks sucked!
I guess I'll see about getting some smaller ice packs and thermal bags to carry their snacks in - then some better quality items might survive the trip. At least until winter when their backpacks are loaded with mandatory boots and snowpants and barely have room for their lunchbox let alone a big ice-packed snack.
So guess what happened on day 3! I sent her a banana and instructions to be careful with her backpack so it wouldn't arrive smooshed.
I asked her if her teacher commented on her snack. She said she did.....because she had "accidentally" smeared the peel all over her desk. Banana now = messy?
It's setting up to be a fun year.....
*On a side note: I used to send cheese, sandwiches, yogurt, milk, etc for my son's snacks with ice packs and he refused to eat them - citing a change in taste/texture after 6+ hours. I am willing to try again...
I asked my children what other people bring for snacks. The reply: chips, lunchables, cookies, crackers. And these are healthy? I'm starting to think the teachers are more concerned about mess/noise than actual health. Or maybe this teacher just hates me - it's a distinct possibility. To which I say, messy snacks are coming your way!