Let’s be honest: How much time do you spend on preparing your kids lunchbox? Or do you have a healthy lunch option at school or daycare?
I’ve come across an interesting report that I wanted to share today: In Japan, the Art of “Bento” (弁当, a single packed meal, take out or home-made) has found its way into schools and kindergardens. Mothers spend up to two hours preparing a bento with rice balls shaped like Hello Kitty or the face of Michael Jackson. As the women in the video states, there is a lot of pressure to “perform well”, so that now Bento for kids classes are offered.
In Europe and the U.S., most schools and daycare places offer canteen food. Here, the debate has been stirred by drastic reports about quality of food, calories intake, vending machines with high-sugar foods and sodas. The British TV-star chef Jamie Oliver even started a foundation devoted to healthy school lunches, providing parents with information and tool kits to promote change:
Having spent a year in France now, I have noticed a few particularities when it comes to school food. First of all, many public institutions and private shops, banks and doctors still close for a 1.5-2 hr lunch break. While to some that may be appealing to have time to sit down and enjoy a nice warm lunch, to others it poses logistical master puzzles. If you are not a working mom, your child is not always allowed to eat in the canteen together with its friends.
So, after dropping your child off at 8.30-9am, you are expected to be back at the gate at 11.45am-12pm to pick the hungry youngster up for lunch. Not to forget that you have to bring your child back to the same institution an hour and a half later, to then pick them up again in 3 hours time.
..I call that “inhibiting productivity of stay-at-home mothers”!… On the other hand, if your child is in a daycare and has the fortune to be fed there as well, you will have to live with the food they provide. In our case, we were happy to find out that the lunch they serve is a well-balanced, healthy meal, but not so happy about the sugary pastry (pain au chocolat for my 1yr old?!) they serve for “gouter” (after nap snack).
A few other resources/articles: