I first dealt with this issue of unhealthy school lunches when my youngest son was in Pre-K. I had packed a sandwich (turkey breast sometimes ham) snack size apples and a couple of treats. He told me about "What the cafeteria worker said..." when he came home that afternoon. "She didn't want me eating that..." and pointed to a couple of small cookies. I told my son that he could eat whatever I put in his bag. I guess he told the worker the next day and we had no future issues.
I said the following in the past offline, and I will say it again here, the more power you give school officials, the more they will exercise it on children! You go about your day thinking that all is well at the school, and then before long there is a note in your child's hand talking about what the teacher wants, the principal needs, what the guidelines are for an illogical school project, what holidays are being celebrated, etc. Meanwhile, many of these notes have NOTHING to do with educating your child on the essentials, but you have been brainwashed to believe otherwise. If I told you that a program it is "healthy, good, smart, unique, cutting-edge, successful" and it was decorated in beautiful wrapping and served to you on a 24K gold tray, you would most likely open the box, reveal about how beautiful the tray was, but then learn the hard way that the tray melts into mud and out of the box pops up a rattlesnake! Many of these programs are just like an appealing gift box, but in time you see the side effects and quickly realize you are ill-equipped to handle that child who is out of control with his or her mouth, thinking, eating, etc.
Although helpful to your child's upbringing, this talk about nutritious meals served during lunch is helpful, but what isn't right is dictating something as personal as meals and listing everything "fun" that a child eats as unacceptable. Meanwhile, the school has parties and encourages parents to donate, serve and finance their junk food list. Dye for eggs to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day. Jelly beans and marshmallow rabbits with honor given to an imaginary Easter rabbit. Goodies for a pointy-eared Leprechaun. Valentine sweethearts, gummy bears, sugar packs, etc. for classmates. Edible cookies with a decoration of a FAT man in a red suit named Santa. Now is that false god eating healthy?
So what about this holiday education and celebrations that aren't always acknowledged at every one's homes being forced down our throats year after year by teachers? A well-managed way to lull the masses to sleep early on about the issues that really matter like: protests over fracking, new government laws, shady politicians, overseas mayhem with American involvement, deaths on our streets connected to bigger agendas, etc. What bother when you need to get to the store and buy those eggs to decorate? Why do much for community when you are overwhelmed with school activities, work or both? What about the traumatic events of American history that isn't necessary to discuss in detail to elementary school students, yet used to split the mind? What about sex education about all sorts of partnerships, so that the future generations will be less likely to procreate, and more?
Why throw so much at children and parents in the name of "education" and why accept everything that is thrown your way, Parents? Look a little closer at the teachers' plans next school year. Ask to see curriculum. Write notes about anything that isn't sitting right with you. Tell the teacher from the start of the year about the kind of parent you are and what you expect. Rally support of other parents--outside of the close watch of the PTA. Notice how major changes suggested by concerned parents at some of those meetings are quickly shot down between requests for more money and time "...to help the school."
School lunches are in your control whether you have little or a lot of money. The government stepped in because far too many parents are letting children get obese, and besides they are assisting by giving many families help on their food bills. So when you take government aid expect to be managed. Some parents need to wake up and realize that many children nowadays aren't carrying around any baby fat, that is unhealthy weight they are feeding with junk food. Many kids aren't doing much but sitting in front of devices with screens after school and on weekends and you can see it! When many parents let their children's weight get out of control, someone/group will control it for them.
The more parents refuse to parent, the more groups, who feel they need to parent, will walk into schools and enforce rules.
Nicholl McGuire author of When Mothers Cry and other books.