There are always leftovers of the lunches from my son’s preschool. Most of the time someone knows someone who could really use free food. But occasionally it’s offered up to the first parent to arrive at pick up with a car.
Today I was the lucky one. Since there’s no school tomorrow I decided, “what they hey? It’ll make my life a little easier tomorrow.” So I left with a large plastic bag of gov’t issue preschool lunch. Then I got home and looked at what it was.
Unlike my experience in my son’s NJ school, we do not receive a menu, and although I ask Netanel what he eats for lunch, I don’t always get a straight answer. So this was my first exposure to the actual food that he is being served on a daily basis. I was devastated.
In one plastic container, I found greasy pasta which seemed to be seasoned with soup mix. The second container had canned green beans in a watery red sauce. I can only assume there was a protein main dish that had been finished. Based on what I was looking at for sides, I can only imagine that the main dish was something just as pitiful. Fried, breaded chicken breast? Maybe.
I feel defeated! In my house we eat only whole wheat flour, we stay away from refined sugars, we eat mostly vegetables and fruit, grains and legumes. We have limited dairy intake too. Netanel’s behavior is so easily affected by his food, so I try to be very vigilant over what he eats. Why should he be reprimanded for behavior problems caused by the food I give him? If I allow him the occasional treat, we discuss it before hand. I ask him, “Who’s in control, Netanel? You or the sugar?” And he tells me that he is, and I tell him that if he is unable to control himself, I will restrain him, and then he can choose to eat the treat or not. Now I feel as if all my hard work is a complete waste of time!
I want to take on the system, get in touch with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, and start a campaign to bring healthy food to our children. I know it’s been done in other places, and I think it’s even being done here in some areas of the country. At the same time, I’m so reluctant to take something else onto my heavily burdened shoulders.
This is Netanel’s last year in Gan, but next year Odeliya will be starting, with Yitzchak not far behind. Something needs to be done about this, and soon. I am so open to ideas of how to go about this, or maybe even find other people who are already working on getting healthy, fresh food to our kids’ schools who’s bandwagon I can conveniently jump on.
Till then, I’m going to sleep.