What is a Balanced School Lunch?

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What is a balanced school lunch?

School Forces Child To Eat Ritz Crackers to “Balance” lunch

Recently, there was an article about a Canadian school that charged a mom $5 per child, because she did not include a “grain” in her home packed school lunch. The school supplemented the children’s lunch with Ritz crackers to complete their “unbalanced” meal.

The children’s lunch included: meat, potatoes, carrot, milk, and an orange. Under the school’s “balanced” guidelines, a parent is supposed to pack: 1 milk, 1 meat, 1 grain, and 2 fruits and vegetables. This mom actually packed an extra vegetable – a starch (the potato) – which is by far better than a Ritz cracker.


adapted from http://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzymelibee/8696769797/

Adapted from http://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzymelibee/8696769797/

What is in a Ritz Cracker?

Ritz cracker ingredients: Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Raising Agents (Ammonium and Sodium Bicarbonates, Disodium Diphosphate), Salt, Glucose Syrup, barley Malt Flour. The crackers have more sugar than a potato and include vegetable oil (which is not a health food, read about healthy fats here). This doesn’t sound very healthy or balanced to me.  If the school plans to routinely supplement children’s meals with Ritz crackers for health and nutritional reasons… they may need to rethink their plan. 


So what is a balanced school lunch?

What are the foods all kids should eat? I wrote a previous post: 4 Food Groups all kids should eat. These food groups include: Saturated Fats Bone Broths Cultured foods (fermented foods) Seasonal, Local Produce

So in response

The school should widen it’s view of a “balanced” lunch. They possibly should eliminate the need to include grains entirely, because you can eat a balanced meal without eating grains. The school could offer one of the foods in the 4 food groups list to supplement a meal, if their goal is health. If the school continues to require grains to be included in the school lunch, parents could send my Almond flour Cheese Crackers (shhh they are grain free). These gluten free crackers are easy to make.  They are grain-free, gluten-free and have good healthy saturated fats (one of the 4 food groups all kids need).   gluten free almond flour cheese crackers

Here are some other recipes to try: 

Healthy Budget Friendly School Lunches from Five Spot Green Living

Toddler Lunch ideas from The Zest and Zeal

43 Kid Friendly Real Food Snack Ideas by Vicariously Vintage

Healthy and Eco-Friendly Back to School tips from O’Boy Organic

Healthy School Lunches from O’Boy Organic

Nourishing Meal Ideas from Nourishing Faith and Family

Waffle Iron Salmon Cakes 

3 Healthy Chicken Nuggets Recipes 

Gluten free bread for one 

Apple Gummies 

Paleo Club Crackers Recipe

Paleo Graham Crackers

What are your thoughts on a school enforcing what should be in a child’s lunch box?

What does a balanced lunch look like to you? 


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Angela Parker
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  1. I would not want someone “policing” my child’s lunch. Totally ridiculous. There is so much wrong with that I can not comment nicely 🙂
    Have a beautiful day!
    Love your posts and website!!

    • Haha. I totally understand. If this actually happened to me… I would have to pray long and hard before I opened my mouth. Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog! I’m so glad you stopped by : )

  2. I remember hearing about this a while ago. What bothers me the most is that the school gave the child crackers without consulting the parents. What if the child was allergic to some ingredient in the crackers? Or perhaps gluten intolerant and that was why the parent didn’t include a “grain”? So ridiculous!

    I read your “real food” post on MAM and decided to check out your blog. =)

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