The school year is about to begin, and along with ordering school supplies, shopping for new clothes and shoes, and squeezing in a few final beach days, I write a letter to my children’s new teachers.
The letter is simple: “I opt my precious daughter and son out from the unhealthy food-products given out at school every day” …but written in a gracious way 🙂
As a healthy mom, I was shocked when my oldest started school and I was introduced to what goes on every day:
In the Cafeteria:
The cafeteria lunch menu for the first time. Not one item on the menu was a fresh fruit or vegetable. The “food pyramid” was proudly followed, but what was once fresh produce was either canned or cooked to mush, and what used to be chicken was now a breaded, rib-filled, rubbery nugget.
What Teacher’s give as treats:
The sweet, kind, well-meaning teachers provide lollipops, ice-pops, and candy as treats and rewards for either 1) a hot day, 2) a job well done, or 3) just because.
(hand slaps face) at the Holiday parties:
Valentines day. Christmas. Halloween. You’ve seen the class sign-up list asking for pink lemonade, cookies, boxed juice, and donuts.
At the Birthday parties:
Every single birthday party is celebrated in class…with cake, cake pops, donuts, cupcakes, candies, and other “celebration foods.” You name it, it’s chocked full of artificial ingredients brought in and dropped off by happy parents…sometimes two parties in one day.
There were 24 students in my oldest daughters class, and all of them celebrated with an in-class party inclusive of junk food…and if their birthday was over the summer, they could choose a day during the school year to have your party.
I am FOR celebration and rewards, but I am absolutely against unhealthy food going into my little’s bodies every day.
What DO I feed my family then?
I know from nutritional study as well as personal experience that eating a variety of clean, fresh, whole foods allow us to be the best we can be physically and mentally. Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and other chemical additives are not a part of our family’s diet. Period.
In our home, we enjoy organic, all-natural treats a few times a month…but artificial colors, flavors, and hydrogenated oils 24 times a year? Absolutely not. Those ingredients are so toxic, we don’t have them, EVER.
Ok, maybe ONE time a year. I’m so serious here. It’s too few times to count!
So when it comes to school food, I can not just close my eyes and hope that my children stay healthy while ingesting harmful foods every day.
As a mom, it is my delight – and responsibility – to make sure my children have the opportunity to thrive.
A HUGE part of their health comes from what they eat. Actually, numerous studies have shown that a Mediterranean-inspired diet full of fresh, whole “clean” (meaning, nothing artificial) foods keeps colds, flue, diseases, cancer, depression, ADHD, asthma, migrains, and a host of other negative effects to an absolute minimum.
We want our children to thrive and live long, healthy, rewarding lives. We feed them the best foods we can so this is a reality for them.
And so, I created this little “opt-out form” that I print each year and share with their teachers.
I hope it affirms, inspires, and encourages you, healthy momma 🙂
Here is the “healthy family opt-out sheet”:
Print, add your child’s name, sign your name, and place a packet of post-it notes on the bottom of the paper 🙂 I also have a conversation with the teacher about it once school begins.
Here’s an example of what mine looks like and that is a stack of post-it notes attached to bottom 🙂 :
Over the years, my clients and friends have asked me what I feed my children and what I do about the school lunch/treat nightmare, so I’m sharing it here on my blog for you just in case you’d like to use it as well.
I wake up a little earlier than I have to so I can pack my children’s lunches and snacks, and as I do I pray for their day and smile because I know the food going into their precious bodies is the best my husband and I can provide them with.
I’m assuming that you feel the same way, and hope you find these printable sheets helpful as you and your children prepare for a healthy, wonderful school year!
Please know, I am SO thankful to faculty and staff at our schools! They do an excellent job teaching and loving on my little ones each year, and I am so very grateful for them.
However, I know that it is not their responsibility to keep my children healthy. It is mine.
This has nothing to do with how I feel about the government and their school program (which, by the way, is extremely positive), and everything to do with how I want my children to live their life: with the energy, vitality, and joy that health brings.
What I do works well for my family, and I am always looking for new ideas so please share your healthy family school lunch and snack ideas on my Facebook page!