Does your kid ditch her lunchbox to eat at the school café?

lunchbox, kid, school cafe, pizza, healthy lunch, school lunch

The good news is that a majority of UAE schools now allow only a healthy fare to be served in their premises.

By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)

Published: Tue 8 Oct 2019, 10:04 PM

"No fries, no pizza, no sausages, no fizzy drinks? 'Naught interesteeed', thank you." That's my nine-year-old daughter reacting to her lunch menu. Her mom, being her mom, still went ahead and kept a nice, non-greasy, low-on-salt lunch that was as colourful as healthy. Berries and other (diced) fruits, baked tofu, Brussels sprouts, a boiled egg, and a small bottle of skimmed milk - strawberry favour. Nice-looking and neat. The box even had a lid adorned with a colourful unicorn (my little one's favourite mythical creature). It came back in the afternoon just as neatly packed as it was in the morning. 'Untouched by human hands but marinated as can be in the Dubai sun' is how the wifey complained.
The little one had, instead, used her 'emergency fund' to give herself a treat from the school cafeteria. So, what did the mom do wrong, and where are millions of other parents across the country going wrong when packing their kids' lunchboxes with healthy and nutritional food? After all, don't we all want our kids to eat the rainbow? To go slow on the sodium and the calories, and high on lean proteins and whole grains and fruits? To eat something that's not going to push them into tooth decay at an accelerated rate?
The good news is that a majority of UAE schools now allow only a healthy fare to be served in their premises. The bad news is that, in our endeavour to make their diet as healthy as can be, we're running the risk of a generation of hungry kids eyeing the lunchboxes of their more 'fortunate' mates. I am not for a moment suggesting that we give them junk, but let's consider going a little less, well, exotic. A banana instead of broccoli is just fine, as is an apple instead of an avocado. An egg yolk beaten into a scrambled egg has a much higher likelihood of being polished off than in the yellow, boiled form. A tuna or a salami sandwich is fine, and white bread may not be ideal, but if it that is what it takes for a lunchbox to return empty, make the compromise. An occasional slice of leftover cheesy pizza? Let's not stretch it now.

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