Monday, December 30, 2013

Hey, Mom, what's for lunch?

When I was able to eat hot lunches at school, there were limited options. We ate the food that the kindly nuns made for us. Actually, I am pretty sure the nuns didn’t cook, but it was Catholic school, so you never know.

The point is, we didn’t have options.

But some schools do give children a choice in what they select for meals, which fascinates me. I can see the boys and girls lining up in the cafeteria, deciding between roast beef or spaghetti. Between carrots or tater tots. (I know that my son would choose the tater tots.)

Image by Walt Stoneburner
These visions of mine made me interested in the latest study by Cornell University, which tracks what children eat and then sends parents a “nutrition report card.”

So, if a student uses his specialized debit card to pay for a school lunch, the items he chooses are recorded on that card. Parents can elect to receive that information via email, which they can then use to help adjust dinners – adding more fruits and vegetables or making sure not to repeat meals. Other parents in the study used the information to talk to children about their health choices.

Now, I have posted before about ways in which parents stalk their children, and how I am against it, but I’m on board with this idea. Every day when I ask my son what he eats for lunch he tells me “I don’t know.” Granted, he is little, but clearly he isn’t interested in talking about food. That’s why I love the fact that his teachers write down what he eats on his daily report.

I use that info to adjust what we eat for dinner sometimes. (Less cheesy dinners on the days when lunch is a grilled cheese sandwich, for example.) And this gives me a better picture of what he eats during the entire week.

What do you think? Would you like your child's lunch choices emailed to you or would you prefer to rely on your child to tell you what they ate?

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