Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Food Revolution? Leave my kid out of it...

Alex's first year of school is rapidly drawing to a close. On one hand I am in a panic, sometimes just the weekends are enough to drive me insane, and in Summer there will be 3 months of non stop yammering. I can feel it. But on the other hand I am glad because we get to sleep in and our schedules will not have to be so rigid.

I am having some minor issues with her school. Last week or week before, I think it was, her class had a Health teacher come in, who was probably a nutritionist since every thing she brought home that week had to do with food and the food pyramid. The class learned about good foods and bad foods, and about to much sugar and sodium and so on and so forth. Pretty typical stuff and great knowledge to have. However, we already eat very healthy. Jack and I are heavy because other than him at work and me moving around the house, we do not get near enough exercise. Alex is thin as a whip though, and she is going through a picky stage. She loves veggies and most fruit, she is on a less or no meat kick, which is fine, and she is not a big sweet eater. She just does not care for it. She likes salty stuff more, like I do. 

The problem is, since this teacher came in for the week, every thing Alex puts in her mouth she has to ask if it had to much sugar or to much salt in it. Now keep in mind, I do not fry, I bake or broil, we eat mostly veggies, and we hardly ever have junk in the house. Now, every single thing she puts in her face she has to ask these questions, and no matter what my answer is, she will take it upon herself to decide that whatever it is is not "good" for her and refuses to eat it. She eats like a bird on the best of days, and now, she will hardly eat anything. It ticks me off. She has decided she wants to be a "cold luncher" meaning she takes her lunch instead of eating the hot lunch provided by the school. That is also fine with me. Cheaper and better for her. Not that all the food in her school is bad, but you know most of it is pre-packaged or processed food. The school does make some things fresh, but still. I understand that it is just to expensive for most schools to truck in fresh ingredients daily and make everything from scratch. Schools have enough trouble having the budget for transportation and to pay teachers, much less pay for fresh food. It sucks, but it is reality for the moment. When I cook, as I said, I do not fry, I do not use a lot of fats like oil or butter and I use sea salt in place of regular table salt. I know there are many ways I could be healthier but for the most part we are in a good place when it comes to food. I rely on spice for flavor instead of tons of salt or fat, to accentuate the natural taste of the food, instead of covering it up. So for her to question everything irritates me, because I try my damnedest to make sure we eat right, and now because a teacher told her all salt and all sugar are bad, she thinks all we eat is shit.

For instance, the cold lunch she wants is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a little handful of pretzel sticks, some apple slices and red grapes for "dessert" and as a treat I got a thing of YooHoo drinks, the little juice box sized ones. She usually drinks chocolate milk at school anyways. Well yesterday was the first day she took her lunch, and she came home and told me she could not take that any more because PB&J, and the yoohoo had to much sugar, and the pretzels had to much salt, her teacher said so. 

My eyes crossed, I was so pissed. 

So my lunch of wheat bread, natural PB and jelly, low sodium pretzels, apples and grapes, and ONE 6 oz chocolate drink is worse for her than the greasy pizza and brownies that they served that day??? I don't freaking think so.

Guess what she took today for lunch? Yes, the same damn thing. I am all for food education, but kids at that age are easily impressionable, and while having knowledge is one thing, being a freaking Nazi about it to a 6 year old is not okay with me. I am not going to send my kid to school with a lunch box full of crap. We just do not eat that way. So this first year teacher ( This is her first teaching gig ) has warped my kid's mind into thinking unless she grazes in a pasture like a cow then I am trying to make her fat and unhealthy. That makes me livid. Using scare tactics to teach anything pisses me off, but when you tell my 6 year old that unless they NEVER eat sugar or salt they will get fat and die from a myriad of diseases, then I have a huge problem with it. Nothing about moderation, everything about never having it at all. I then got to explain to her that all food, even if you plucked it off a plant 5 minutes ago, have some level of sodium and sugar, and there was no possible way to cut it totally out of your life. She refused to accept that explanation. She does not comprehend the difference between naturally occurring sugar and sodium and refined sugar and dumping salt all over your food.

I do not know what to do about the situation, or if I should do anything. This is her first year after all, and the first year for the teacher, and there is less than 6 weeks of school left for the year. The problem is, when Alex attaches to an adult, ( other than Jack and I ) then whatever they say is law, so in her eyes her teacher is the most important person in her little world right now. I do not want to give her the impression that her teacher is not to be listened to or minded, but at the same time in this case what is being taught is not okay with me.

I think I will wait and see what she has to say when she gets home this afternoon. If she comes home with a story about what this teacher told her about her lunch being bad for her, then it is on like Donkey Kong...


Tammy said...

I used to have similar problems when my children were in school with various issues. One thing I did with them was to educate them more on my own. Take the materials she has gotten from her teacher, like the food pyramid and show her how the foods she is eating fits into this. It will help her see how she is eating fine! Also, have you considered talking with the teacher? One thing that I know is that kids don't always get it right. Your daughter may be saying things out of context or not listening to important info the teacher is revealing. Kids are selective "hearers". ;) So long as the teacher is teaching accurate info... not food nazi info... then you will have to probably reinforce the learning. Maybe there are some good kids books about this?? Check out the library! I know it's frustrating! Also remember that it may be more of a phase... it will pass! Good luck!! :)
Blessed Be,

Unknown said...

My first thought was that maybe she did not tell me the story correctly, but Alex is a stickler for details, she has a photographic memory as I do, she can tell me books and movie plots word for word, so I believe her when she told me what her teacher said. I asked her several times to repeat it and her story never changed over the course of the night.

In addition to that, I still have the paperwork that Alex brought home with her when the other teacher visited, and in addition to the typical food pyramid ones there are many that talk about how all sugar and all salt are bad for you,( I do mean ALL, it does not say refined or high fructose or anything like that, but ALL sugar) so if I do have to talk to the teacher I have some documentation to back me up.

I love the idea of using the food pyramid to show her where the food she is eating fits in, and I will do that! I think that will make sense to her and I appreciate the suggestion!

It bothers me so much I think because society has such a hateful relationship with food compared to how it used to be back when we ate to survive, not for pleasure ( or rather predominately for survival, I am sure we ate for pleasure when we could back then as well ) and I would no more condone someone saying eating ice cream and pizza every meal is good for you or you would die if you ate to many spinach leaves. That is not education to me, if that makes sense. It is not providing them with unbiased information that allows them to make their own choices, it "scares" young minds into thinking that persons way is the only way, and that bothers me something fierce!

Unknown said...

I should also point out that my main problem is not with Alex's every day teacher, but the "visiting teacher" that came in.

Her normal teacher is a nice lady and is a good teacher, especially being a first year, but she IS the one who said that Alex's lunch yesterday was bad because of the sugar in her sandwich and drink.

Part of it stems from the fact of unless I am sending her to school with beer and cocaine for lunch, it is not any of the teachers business what I send for her lunch. Let me feed her what I think she should have and let her stick to teaching math and reading.

Especially math, because they teach some crazy stuff these days lol.

Judy said...

Kids and school cause many problems over the years...and there are just as many ways to handle the problems...good luck and remember, when she's hungry, most likely she'll find something to eat...

Anonymous said...

I 100% agree with you.

You'll really love this story. Hopefully, this doesn't come to a school near any of us.


Tamara said...

I went thru this when my 2nd child was young. The school taught them about "good" food and "not so healthy" foods. This kid never ate much to begin with and the constant questioning of is it a good or bad food drove me nuts. He was very thin and it worried me to death. He is 22 years old now and has an eating disorder. He binges, he starves himself, he excessively worries about his weight, he excessively lectures everyone around him about diet and excerise and is his own worst enemy. I would hate to think that what the school brainwashed him with about foods way back in kindergarden has caused a lifetime of eating problems. If I were you....i would call the school and the teacher. I would tell them what you are dealing with and your concerns. They need to change the way they drill things into our childrens minds. Because after the food brainwashing came the "saving electricity" brainwash and that was equally an issue in our household. Good luck hun and let me know if you called the school.