That's what Kristen Bartkiw, a mom in Manitoba, packed her two young kids for lunch. What they came home with was a note from their school saying she was being fined $10 because the meal was unbalanced. To balance it out, the school gave the kids Ritz Crackers.
There's no doubt everything is better when it's sitting on a Ritz. Healthier, though? That's debatable.
Sure, maybe there could have been a grain in the meals that Bartkiw packed. And, yes, kudos to the Canada Food Council for looking out for the health of children by requiring one milk, one meat, one grain, two fruits in their meals, according to Metro News. But surely there are kids whose lunches are much less healthy than the ones Barkiw packed, which really seems pretty benign/nutritious. Is adding crackers that contain high fructose corn syrup and zero grams of fiber really balancing the meal out?
Before I was a parent, I had so many visions of stuffing my kids with organic-only, grassfed, free range, whole grain, local, slow-cooked food. Then my kids were born. I now wholly agree with recent findings that kids are genetically averse to all things green as a survival instinct. At least that's what I'd like to think. The fact is that kids are human, and they are kids. They would prefer to eat sweet than savory. They would prefer to not eat. They would prefer to eat cookies at every meal. We compromise. I'm far from perfect. I have the best of intentions, but that isn't carried out at each and every meal. Some meals have more protein and calcium than others. Some have more grains some have less. By all means, keep me honest and my kids full of nutrition with laws, sure. But fine me for failing to provide a cracker in my kid's lunch? I don't think so.
In the end, Bartkiw had the penalty waived.
"I phoned the daycare worker and said 'you know, potatoes, surely I can get away with this.'"
But still. Ritz Crackers?
"It was just the principle of the thing," she said. "You could send microwave Kraft Dinner everyday and that would count as a grain under the guide."
- By Meredith Carroll