Back in the day I was Queen of the Kitchen. I shopped every week for fresh produce at the local market, ate organic meat, made as much of dinner as possible from scratch, and hardly ever fed my kids processed food.
Then reality hit.
Money got extremely tight, I was feeding 2 kids, trying to keep a house clean, and running my own business. So, in an effort to save money, we switched to highly processed foods that were cheap and low on nutrition.
Big mistake. Huge.
Honestly, my kids' behavior went uncontrollable. They were always hyper, wouldn't sleep at night, pretty much acted like psych patients who had a free day pass.
Then my oldest started school. At first she wanted to buy her school lunches. Okay, fine. Then I went and ate lunch with her at school one day. I was paying $1.50 a day for a turkey sandwich with lettuce, a cup of jello and a milk. Wtf?? Oh hell no, if her lunch is going to cost $1.50 a day, I'm gonna make it count.
So, I started packing her lunch everyday. Fresh carrots with ranch dressing, peanut butter and apple slices, goldfish crackers, sliced cheese and crackers, applesauce, sugar free pudding, animal crackers, granola bars, and 100% juice.- a combination of any of these items could be found in her lunch box on any given day. Then she came home one day pretty upset.
"Mommy? Why don't I have a normal lunch like the other kids?"
"What do you mean, honey?"
"Well, the other kids at lunch whose Moms pack their lunch have sandwiches, fruit snacks, chips and cookies. Why don't I?"
"Because Mommy makes you healthy lunches, honey. Does it really bother you?"
"It didn't, Mommy, until the lady at lunch told me I need to bring a sandwich."
"Who told you that?"
"The lady that watches all of us in the cafeteria. She came to me today at lunch and told me that she's seen that you don't make me a sandwich, and told me that I need to tell you to start making me a sandwich because I don't have a good lunch without a sandwich."
I was seriously floored. I, of course, contacted the school the next day and find out what exactly was said to my kindergartner, who said it, and why anything was said in the first place. Come to find out it was one of the teacher's aides. She wasn't told to walk up to my daughter and say what she did, she just felt that my child was not being fed properly because her lunch didn't contain a sandwich, and wanted my daughter to pass the information on to me.
Needless to say, I ripped her a new a**hole. When she took it upon herself to pass a message on through my then 5 year old, she didn't bother to notice that my daughter's lunch that day contained peanut butter and apples, a granola bar, a bag of peanuts, sliced cheese and crackers, and juice. Or, the lunch the day before of carrots and dressing, pretzels, trail mix, apple sauce and juice.
But my daughter's lunch wasn't "nutritious" because it didn't contain a sandwich??????
Get the f*ck out of town.
She apologized, of course, and, well, I made sure she didn't say a damn word to my daughter from that day on.
Fast forward 4 years, and my kids, now 9 and 6, have their lunches made every day. We did the buying school lunches thing once, with both of them in school, more for the experience for my youngest. But now they both prefer to have their lunch packed everyday. And in the mornings, when I give them the options of what they can have in their lunches, very rarely do they say sandwiches. My kids are perfectly happy with granola bars, apple sauce, string cheese, trail mix and juice. And their lunches are a hell of a lot more nutritious than having a sandwich, chips, cookies and kool-aid. As I see it, I'm covering the grain group, fruits, dairy, protein, and sometimes vegetables, with little fat and sugar. Sandwiches can kiss my ass.
So far, I haven't had any messages sent through either of them from a teacher's aide about the lack of sandwiches in their lunch and how that means their lunch isn't nutritious. Then again, we did move to a posh school district. My kids are probably the weird ones at lunch because they don't have sushi in their lunch bags like Molly Ringwald in 'The Breakfast Club'.
(And, I do semi-retract my previous 'Sandwiches can kiss my ass' comment, and semi-apologize to sandwiches for titling this post the same way. I do love a good turkey and provolone on honey wheat bread with lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing. Mmmm.)