Insight & Analysis

Australian mum furious after school sends son’s lunchbox back

Published: May 2019


It’s hard enough getting the thumbs up from children for the contents of their school packed lunchboxes but it seems schools can be just as demanding, indeed if not more so.

One Australian mum was left furious after she “spent ages” baking healthy alternatives to the classic snacks, but her son’s school still said they weren’t allowed. The school sent his lunchbox back with a note telling her one of the homemade items wasn’t healthy enough.

According to the Daily Mirror, the mum sent her son to preschool with a few different fruits, vegetables and protein balls. But she also packed him a few ‘healthy’ homemade sausage rolls, which were packed with lots of different veg.

Alas, the lunchbox was given very short shrift by her son’s teachers, who issued him with a “condescending” note for his mum saying it just wasn’t healthy enough. “Let’s work together to make it easier for children to make healthy choices!” said the note.

It added: “There were lots of great choices in this lunchbox, however, sausage rolls (are) too high in fat… (Please provide nutrient value if they are homemade).”

The note also says that “the food did not fit with our service’s nutrition guidelines. For some healthier lunchbox ideas, ask an educator, or go to the Good for Kids website.”

The mum was not best pleased and took to the Mums Who Cook & Bake Facebook group to vent her anger over the episode: “In my opinion, these sausage rolls are pretty healthy for him I will be sending the information back to the school,” she wrote, adding that it was frustrating to receive the note.

Food for thought

The New Zealand Herald further reports that other parents were quick to offer the Australian mum their support, saying if teachers were going to police lunchboxes, they should provide food for their students themselves. One mum wrote: “Preschool teachers are not nutritionists. I’d be furious. How dare they?”

A Herald poll last year showed that Kiwi parents overwhelmingly feel that schools shouldn’t play a role in policing children’s lunches.

When asked in the poll, “Should schools have a say on what goes in your child’s lunchbox?” one New Zealand mother responded: “No, from a mum with a child who has autism. Nothing about my son’s lunch is healthy but if it means he eats then so be it.”

Another Kiwi mother shared that her daughter had come home from school upset after being told her lunch wasn’t healthy. “She has just started school and came home and said her popcorn was unhealthy so she didn’t eat it and was very upset. I was so annoyed as the popcorn I give my daughter is homemade. Okay it’s not super healthy but it’s better than some stuff.”

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