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10 Trendsetting Parents Tackling Lunchbox Stigma

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Deciding on the contents of a child’s lunch box proves more challenging than the age-old “what’s for dinner” question. Balancing health, convenience, cost, and the likelihood of a picky eater actually eating the meal is a significant task. The complexity deepens when parents face scrutiny solely based on the items packed in their child’s lunch box.

Someone asked in an online forum, “Should schools be allowed to say anything to parents about the contents of the lunches their kids bring from home?” Some parents are totally over it.

1. A Case For Meat

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A parent whose son preferred a hunk of French bread and some cheese for lunch got an earful from the kid’s teacher.

She narrates, “His teacher went ballistic. There’s no meat in his lunch. We don’t allow sweets in the classroom. He doesn’t get any milk at lunch. Juice boxes are pure sugar water. And so on.”

Finally, they told the teacher to “keep her nose out of our kid’s lunch.”

2. Trashing A Child’s Lunch

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Can you imagine a teacher throwing away your child’s lunch because they reasoned it wasn’t “healthy enough?”

One irate online user says, “It should be illegal [for] a teacher or any other school employee to touch a child’s lunch or to say anything to the parents.”

3. The Lactose Intolerant Kid

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A parent packs a particular snack or lunch for their kids because they’re aware of their chid’s allergic reactions and want to keep them safe.

One lactose-intolerant online contributor was forced to drink milk instead of the iced tea their parents had packed. They narrate, “The powers that be got upset because my thermos had ice tea instead of milk. They would make me drink a carton of milk before letting me leave.”

The milk didn’t go down very well. They add, “Well, I showed that self-righteous busybody. The milk came up faster than it went down and landed on her shoes. She was warned.”

4. A Parent of An Autistic Child

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A parent whose son is on the autism spectrum narrates her frustration with the school staff where her kid’s food is concerned. They share, “My son [has] Autism, is lactose intolerant, and has an incredibly limited diet. It’s hard enough to find things he’ll eat without school staff stepping in and trying to tell me what I can send in his lunch. “

5. An Arm For An Arm

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One online forum conversation contributor says, “I would break a teacher’s hand if they touched my child’s lunch. Plain and simple, I said what I said!!”

It may not be the right thing to do, but neither is discarding a child’s lunch.

6. Little Suggestions

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Some teachers choose a passive-aggressive way to make their opinion known to the parent where the kid’s food is concerned.

One parent narrates, “I got a note home years ago from the teacher suggesting what I SHOULD be packing in my son’s lunch. I was livid! It’s none of their damn business.”

7. Kids with ARFID

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Kids with ARFID [Avoidance and restricted food intake disorder] WILL starve themselves if the foods they eat aren’t available.

A parent adds, “I think that if a child is always coming in with junk food, a private discussion with the parents is reasonable, but not an outright ban.”

8. Doing Her Best

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A teacher who saw a child unpack an unconventional lunch of spicy corn chips, Oreos, and a Conchita (a doughnut-type treat) decided to take matters into her own hands.

They say, “I didn’t touch his “lunch”, but I did send him to the cafeteria for a free breakfast.”

She adds, “It was my understanding that his mom worked night and was asleep when he got ready for school and caught the bus. I do not blame her for her son’s bad nutrition or bad sleep habits. She was doing the best that she could to raise a number of children on her own.”

9. What is Real Food?

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Lunchbox shaming a parent seems to have been around since the 60s, as one online forum user notes.

They say, “My friend’s children sometimes got hassled because of their lunches. She is from Japan and would sometimes put sushi or fried rice in their lunches. According to some teachers, that wasn’t “real food.” (At the time in the 60s, Oriental cuisine wasn’t well known in the U.S.).”

Chinese restaurants joined the chat.

10. A Treat A Year Never Hurt Anyone

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Kids can take sugar once in a while, especially on Halloween. One user disagrees with this idea and says, “Sugar makes kids hyper. That’s one reason teachers hate Halloween because the next day, they have a bunch of kids really acting up.”

A parent replies, “Halloween is one damn night a year. If teachers hate it that much, get another job.”

Parents are trying; they could use a break from all the judgy eyes.


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