Packing a lunchbox was once a simple task, with the aim to provide a balanced diet for a growing child.
But an Australian mother has taken to Facebook to reveal the lunch that landed her four-year-old daughter in hot water.
The youngster is far from the first victim of lunch-box shaming, with more and more parents revealing their children meals have been called out by schools.
Comprising of fruit, vegetables, crackers and cheese, at first glance the homemade meal appears to cover all nutritional bases.
However, upon a teacher’s further inspection, it was a single Hershey’s Kiss that marked the lunch too unhealthy and saw the sweet treat confiscated.
‘My youngest daughter’s teacher took her little Hershey’s Kiss off her and told her she had to eat it at home… my eldest daughter was able to eat hers!!’ wrote the girl’s mother.
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One mother has taken to Facebook to reveal how a miniature sweet treat landed her four-year-old daughter in hot water, despite bringing an otherwise healthy lunch (pictured) to school
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She then explained further, revealing the snack’s removal had nothing to do with other children’s allergies.
‘Nuts are allowed at the school… she had eaten all her fruit, and salad and half her sandwich,’ she wrote.
‘(The daughter) said the teacher told her she shouldn’t eat sugar at school. Yet the canteen serves custard, chips, sausage rolls, meat pies, quench soft drinks and cupcakes!’
The post prompted backlash from other mothers in the group, who collectively agreed with the absurdity of the confiscation.
At first glance the homemade meal appears to cover all nutritional bases but it was a single Hershey’s Kiss that marked the lunch, too unhealthy and saw the sweet treat confiscated
Clinical dietitian Kate Save said there had been times when she earned the ire of other parents at the school gate for the foods she’d packed for daughter’s lunch as is among a growing number of people whose children have been lunch box shamed
The post prompted backlash from other mothers in the group, who collectively agreed with the absurdity of the confiscation
Despite the severity of the situation, it’s far from the first time children have been punished for their seemingly healthy lunchboxes
Members of the group were quick to support the mother’s views against the teacher
‘That’s crazy it’s a well balanced lunch FFS! I’ve only made one lunch box as my son has just started preschool and was so paranoid after reading similar stories so I tried to hide his chocolate under the raspberries,’ wrote one bemused user.
‘Teachers are there to teach not police lunch boxes – if parents feed their kid foods high in sugars or preservatives and the teachers feel it effects the kids wouldn’t a quiet word be better that shaming the parent and making the child feel bad?’ said another.
Although the incident may seem extreme in nature, it is just part of the growing trend of ‘lunch-box shaming’ with even professionals being caught out by the restrictive rules.
Can you spot what’s wrong with this lunchbox? The sandwiches merely contain mayonnaise (right) and nothing else, while the baked beans (top left) are high in sugar. Cereal (centre) is also not nutritionally rich
Victorian-based dietitian Kate Save said similar unwarranted comments have been a shock as both of her children are notoriously fussy eaters.
Speaking previously to Daily Mail Australia, Kate said there had been times when she has earned the ire of other parents at the school gate for the foods she’d packed for daughter’s lunch.
Mum to Chloe, five, and Mia, three, Kate explained that a typical lunch may feature sandwiches that contain only butter and mayonnaise and nothing else because her eldest doesn’t like Vegemite or jam.
She added that her oldest child attends an early learning centre where another child has an allergy to nuts, so all nut spreads are forbidden.
Kate (pictured centre) with her two daughters Mia, 3, (pictured left) and Chloe, 5, (pictured right)
The difficulty is that her fussy eater daughter loves peanut butter and is one of the few things she will eat, says Kate, who also heads up Be Fit Foods.
There are occasions when the family have left over chicken which makes it into lunches, but sometimes sandwiches can be a plainer affair: butter or mayonnaise.
This, she explained, is what parents have taken issue with.
‘Once people know you’re a dietitian people will ask “what does your kid have for lunch?”‘ she said.
‘I tell them I give them what they’ll eat.
‘To them it might have looked as if I wasn’t making an effort as a parent.’
While the remarks are seemingly not ill-intentioned, a study by Capliano Honey has revealed that almost one in five parents have been made to feel guilty about the food they give their child.
Multigrain bread (2 slices)
Mayonnaise (2 tbs)
Cheerios (1 cup)
Strawberries (1 cup)
Apple (one whole)
Baked beans (200g)
Greek Yoghurt (125g)
Source: My Fitness Pal
The nutritional expert has also come under fire for feeding her children breakfast cereals deemed unhealthy
While lunch usually comes with a piece of fruit or strawberries, and a small tub of Greek yoghurt, there are days when Kate will add a small can of baked beans for Chloe’s teacher to warm up at school.
‘That’s when the questions about how high they [baked beans] are in sugar start,’ she said.
‘I tell people they’re a legume, and super high in fibre and super high in vitamins.’
As a dietitian Kate said she’s happy that her children are eating vegetables at lunchtime – even if they do some with a small amount of sugar.
The nutritional expert has also come under fire for feeding her children breakfast cereals deemed unhealthy by those who may be operating under conflicting information.
Kate said there’s been a rise in what she terms ‘nutritional anxiety’ – people who feel confused by the glut of dietary information
‘One of my daughters likes Cheerios which she has with Greek yoghurt,’ she admitted.
‘Parents have said ‘Are Cheerios okay? I thought they were full of sugar?’
‘They’re a breakfast cereal and they have a little bit of added sugar – a maximum of one teaspoon of sugar per serve which is less than what you’d normally add to cereal.
‘I find that with kids, it’s a way to get extra vitamins in plus dietary fibre, plus when it’s served with Greek yoghurt they are getting calcium and protein and overall it’s actually a low GI meal,’ she explained.
‘You get judged by parents who don’t see that, they just see the Cheerios and they think they’re similar to Fruit Loops or Nutrigrain.’
Kate believes people are generally confused about what a healthy diet looks like and feel more ‘nutritional anxiety’ because there’s such a glut of dietary information.
Citing figures from Capilano’s research, she revealed more than one in 10 admitted they are baffled by conflicting recommendations around what they should and shouldn’t be feeding their kids.
‘People are always asking me what they should be eating and they honestly seem confused,’ she said.
‘The truthful answer is that everybody knows what good food looks like.
‘It’s only once you start worrying about the labels on processed food that you’re probably choosing the wrong foods.’
Kate said her family eat a range of foods, including those which come pre-packaged, but to offset this they consider what they are pairing those foods with.
‘It’s not so much that every single meal needs to balance, it’s just at the end of week that they’ve had that nutritional variety.
‘Every meal doesn’t need to look perfect,’ she continued.
To the ‘lunchbox shamers’ Kate urges practicing a little restraint, especially as parents might not have the full picture in terms of what a child might be eating over the course of a day.
‘If a child doesn’t eat and they’re a fussy eater, then you just need to make sure they’re getting something because their energy becomes the most important thing.
‘At the end of the day it’s not about individual meals or individual foods but it’s about balance,’ she concluded.
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