For the Love of All That’s Holy, Stop Shaming My Child Over What I Pack Them for Lunch

Food Shaming

Well parents, the time has come, Gone are the days when we lived for trading our Twinkie at lunch for a hostess cake or a capri sun. In fact, I can’t even imagine what would happen these days if a kid showed up at school with a Twinkie in their lunchbox. In my mind it would look something like a scene out of Monsters Inc., where the government agency swoops in and quarantines a child’s sock.

“We’ve got a twenty-three nineteen!”

That’s how insane it’s getting you guys. Teachers and school officials are preaching healthy choice options like they work on commission, and it’s far beyond just a suggestion. Our kids are being food shamed, and mama bears across the internet are NOT having it.

In her piece, “Nobody—Including Teachers—Should Criticize What I Pack In My Kid’s Lunch,Wendy Wisner recalls the day her third grader was first food shamed by one of his lunch aids for only having “snacks” in his lunch box.

Wisener says her son came home from school and suggested that his mom start packing him sandwiches for lunch again, “half-joking, but obviously unhappy with being judged in this way.”

And can you blame the kid? I can think back to very specific times in my childhood when an adult passed judgement on me, and voiced it to my face. It’s humiliating, especially coming from someone in authority. And kids not only pick up on that, they harbor it.

Wisener reveals that unbeknownst to the lunch aid, her son was an extremely picky eater, and for some reason was never able to eat a sandwich at school.

“Every sandwich I had made for him in the history of his elementary school career had gone untouched. He ate sandwiches just fine at home, but school was a different story,” she said. “While I could get him to eat somewhat healthfully at home, there was something about eating lunch in the cafeteria that just did not agree with him.”

Whatever it was, the only things Wisener could get her son to eat were snacks. And Y’all, we’re not talking snacks like a bag of Halloween candy or a bowl of nacho cheese. She sent things like pretzels, rice cakes, granola bars and cheese sticks.

“Nothing too horrible, but certainly nothing resembling a meal,” she explains. “And if he didn’t eat those things, He. Would. Not. Eat. At. All.”

Sustenance people, that’s all we’re after here.

Wisener says she’s tried several other lunch options over the years and they’d all “failed miserably.” All too often her picky eater would come home having not eaten a bite of food all day.

“So I did what I needed to do and packed him what he would eat.”

The craziest thing to me about this food shaming trend is that it’s not uncommon.

Australian blogger, Melinda Tankard Reist shared her friend’s similar experience with food shaming on her Facebook page.

Reist posted a photo of a note sent home with her friend’s 3-year-old daughter (the seventh of eight kids BTW), scolding her for having a slice of chocolate cake in her lunch. The note read “Your child has chocolate slice from the red food category today. Please choose healthier options.”

food shaming

I’m pretty sure that food shaming a THREE YEAR OLD falls into a whole different kind of “red category.”

“I understand that harried teachers are most likely trying to carry out school policy while not being trained dietitians,” Reist told Today. “But my biggest concern is where shaming around food takes us. When children see food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it can set them up for eating disorders.”

Preach it, sister.

And as Wisener points out, the problems with food shaming aren’t just rooted in the detrimental effects it may have on our child’s future. How about the underlying things that the school lunch aid can’t see? Things like the food stamps that bought the unhealthy lunch choice you’re judging.

“Maybe a child brought a less-than-wholesome lunch into school because that was all that was in their kitchen cabinets,” Wisener writes.

Is making sure a kid knows that they *should* be eating an apple, worth the insecurity you’re instilling in them to prove that point?

And as mothers, fathers and parents, don’t we carry enough shame and guilt around without having some school lunch police reaffirm our fears that we’re screwing our kids up?

Stop the madness people! We’re all just doing what needs to be done for our kids to get through the day. Your food shaming and scolding is is not welcome here.

Like Reist told her friend who sent her 3-year-old to school with a slice of chocolate cake: “Put in two slices tomorrow and tell them to get lost.”


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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of ForEveryMom.com! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!