Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can Schools Improve Kids Health by Banning Homemade Lunches?

Kids health
Some of my friends are circulating this Chicago Tribune article about a public school in Chicago banning homemade lunches. Chicago's solution for the school nutrition conundrum is not a trend, but it brings up a good opportunity to talk about the perpetual hot-potato topic of healthy foods at school.

I’m old enough to remember frantically trying to bake cookies the night before a class party when my daughter was in grade school, only to feel like a failure when I screwed up the recipe—for no-bake cookies, no less—and had to swing by the grocery store to buy prepackaged treats. (Note to those who might be considering making my favorite no-bake cookies—do not use tub margarine because the cookies won’t set.)

Now, there are strict guidelines at most schools and daycares about what type of food can be brought to share with the class. In short, nothing homemade is permitted, because the teachers must be able to clearly discern the ingredients in case of allergies. Less guilt for me, the non-baker, but less fun and more processed food for all the kids’ birthday celebrations.

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