Disturbing News about School Lunches and Bureaucracy

Here is a disturbing article about a preschool child having to buy a lunch consisting of chicken nuggets because government officials didn’t think her lunch from home was healthy enough. You can read the article here at  http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/homemade-lunch-replaced-with-cafeteria-nuggets.html

We know schools need overall guidelines for lunch programs, but how much regulation is over-regulation? Do government officials really need to inspect lunch box food from home? How much government interference, or meddling, is necessary before parents and school officials decide that enough is enough. If children were bringing candy and pop, certainly a chat with the parents would be in order. But if they are sending adequate food, then which is worse, making the child feel her food from home is not good enough, or she eating only 3 chicken nuggets, of questionable value, I might add, for her meal?

If parents didn’t send any food for the child, then it would be a different matter. But if parents are trying to send healthy lunches and they don’t get quite all the requirements in as issued by school standards, this is not enough to warrant a trip down the chicken nugget trail. Plus, having parents pay for the food when they send a lunch may be too much to bear.

You know from my previous posts that nutrition is an important subject with me, but this is absolutely ridiculous. We should not hand our power as parents in what we believe is the best for our children over to others, including the government.

How do you feel about this? How does your school handle this?

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate, author

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New E-Book Resource for Parents and Preschool Teachers

Children love to cook and work with food. Help them sharpen their skills in math and science, nutrition, vocabulary and social skills, while enjoying what they are doing.

This resource for parents and preschool teachers will help use their skills in new and exciting ways. Have this ready when your children want to “work” in the kitchen.

Kids Cooking and Learning  Through  Food  Activities

The author, Amy Houts, shares lots of good ideas on helping preschoolers  learn through a variety of cooking activities. For many years she wrote a monthly Preschooler in the Kitchen column for Parent & preschooler Newsletter, an international parenting resource, and includes many of her best kid-tested techniques.

The activities are organized so that early childhood professionals can use them as part of their curriculum. Home-schooling parents will also benefit by using this guide with their children.

You can find it here on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/oorLCr

For only $4.99 you can have it immediately and use it tonight with your children.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Food and Nutrition Specialist

P.S. For more cooking and kids tips, see:

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What are Mealtime Goals?

Children vary in their food needs and eating habits. Some children are very picky eaters, others go on various same-food binges. Then there are others who like and eat a little of everything. Everybody is different. That’s a good thing!

Parents often get overwhelmed, though, by the so-called problem eaters. This is a difficult time to get through. However, if they can learn to adjust to the individual differences without making an issue of eating, mealtimes will be much happier.

Here are a number of fundamental mealtime goals most parents want their children to meet.

First, they want them to eat a well-balanced meal. It is up to parents to see that their children have foods available from the different food groups – protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken, or eggs; fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals; milk and milk products for strong teeth and bones; and breads and cereals for energy to run, play, and learn.

To taste a little of everything and eat only from their plate. All the food may not be to their liking, but encourage them to taste a little of everything. By tasting a little and eating other foods they like, they should be well-nourished. Some children like to eat what’s on their parents or other children’s plate, or to dip into the serving bowls. Nibbling on someone else’s food should be discouraged. If they want another serving of the food, they can ask for it.

To enjoy mealtime. Hopefully this is a time when the family can eat together. Many studies show how valuable this is to all members of the family. It should be a time of sharing and “catching up” with the activities of each. If there are unpleasant topics, disagreements or criticisms to discuss, they need to be left for another time.

To stay at the table and use good table manners. This isn’t the time to jump up and down from their chair but to remain seated until excused. Having good table manners makes mealtime much more pleasant for everyone.

Mealtime is a good time to sit together, learn about the foods to eat, about table manners, and how to talk to one another. Mealtimes can be the highlight of the day but everyone needs to work on making this time enjoyable.

Enjoy your mealtimes,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Check out our children’s cookbooks here

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Make a Difference by Helping Children

In his circle of peers, one Mukie in the book, Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures, is a different color. He and his father were the only purple Mukies in the community of brown individuals.  Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings of the single young purple Mukie among a large peer group of brown Mukies?  Or of the large brown group and the single purple one?

This story examines racial bias before it becomes a prejudice. The purple colored Mukie’s identity is first one of curiosity, then distrust, and finally indifference.

Ignoring someone and demonstrating a non-caring attitude can be as hurtful as verbal abuse or name-calling. Self-esteem diminishes and the awareness that one has little or no influence upon others or the situations becomes painful.

The story points out the importance of caring associations – friends, family members, and other associates. A single event can change the mental perspective of those involved. However, often there are “fences to be mended” before mutual acceptance, respect, and friendships can develop.

These and other stories in the book, Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures, make a difference by helping children become more tolerant and understanding of differences in others. By being open-minded and truly listening to one another, issues such as racism, violence and aggression can be overcome. When people know how to talk to each other and work out their differences, they are more willing to cooperate and compromise.

Make a difference by helping children understand important character building skills. Building character is not done in a vacuum. In families and faith communities, adults have long taught children about character. Children watch and observe how others act and react. The traits they develop are linked to personal experiences, beliefs, upbringing, culture, laws, and many others. Being a good role model helps to develop positive character traits in children.

This book, Listening to the Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures, has been highly recommended by parents, teachers, and counselors in bringing out important ways of making a difference in personal lives as well as those of others. It won the Mom’s Choice Award from The Just For Mom Foundation.

Order these books for your home or school at Amazon here or at our website here. They provide the basis for an easy exchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas about values and ethical issues.

These books help children share a vision for a better world.

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Helping promote family well-being through knowledge and skills.
Books for home and family living

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