No limits necessary

A Manitoba mother was recently fined by her daycare for not providing her children with a “balanced” lunch. The mother thought that the lunch she packed — roast beef, potatoes, carrots, an orange and milk — was healthy and sufficient.

Since the provincial food guide requires a “grain” in each nutritious meal, the daycare provided the child with Ritz crackers and subsequently fined the mother for the crackers.

This series of events is unbelievable, as it doesn’t make any sense to supplement a healthy lunch with Ritz crackers — pure junk food.

The assumptions at play are also suspect. While daycares have some responsibility in minding the health of children, they shouldn’t micromanage their lunches. In general, “top down” paternalistic approaches aren’t ideal when it comes to issues like this.

Some parents aren’t aware of what good nutrition is or they don’t have the money and time to feed their children healthy food. These problems deserve more attention. For the most part though, day-to-day meal choices are a parent’s responsibility.

The food guide that the daycare was attempting to follow may itself be flawed, as it’s possible that Canada overemphasizes certain foods due to the strength of corporate lobbies.

This whole incident is problematic from top to bottom.The Canada food guide isn’t without bias. The province of Manitoba shouldn’t mandate that lunches follow

that guide. Daycares shouldn’t be enforcing faulty standards and certainly shouldn’t supplement lunches with junk food. We should be thankful that there are good parents, like this mother, who are willing and able to pack healthy lunches for their children.

— Journal Editorial Board

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