School has started and that means that instead of us being able to struggle over cooking food that is both healthy and something our children will actually eat, we get to have the considerably harder task of trying to figure out what we can prepare for their lunches that they’ll then eat in school.
As is typical each year, we scour the local market’s shelves looking for food that’s able to survive in a lunchbox and pretty healthy and it’s astonishing to me just how hard a job that is.
For example, at the local corner market we saw that Chicken of the Sea was having a special on a mini-can of tuna, crackers, a container of fruit and a cookie, all in a nice portable package. So we bought a few of them for the kids to try… And sure enough, they kinda liked them, though neither was too thrilled with the tuna itself.
Upon reading the ingredients, I immediately understood why…
Every single thing in that container either had corn syrup or, even better, high fructose corn syrup. Even the tuna. Blech!
Indeed, it’s an interesting experiment to go to the local market and look at the ingredients in “children’s food”. With staggeringly few exceptions, everything has corn syrup added.
How, I ask, did children ever possibly survive in the age before corn syrup was so common?
Me, I remember having unsweetened foods like peanut butter (not the modern, processed, yes, corn syrup added varieties) and jelly sandwiches and a piece of fruit for my lunch as a kid. Nowadays while it may seem retro from our perspective as parents to give our children this kind of lunch, they’re surrounded by other kids who have processed this, packaged that and sweetened the other. It’s terrible.
If the food manufacturers were genuinely trying to create healthy food for our children to grow on, that’d be one thing, but it’s all about corporate profits. When we live in an age where “ketchup” is considered a vegetable, for goodness sake, it’s no surprise at all that the incident of childhood obesity and childhood diabetes is going through the roof too.
And meanwhile, every morning, there are two empty lunch boxes, yawning cavities waiting to be filled with something that’s both delicious and healthy. Sure, we could dump in some of the kind of foods that Linda and I eat every day, but there’s little more frustrating than at the end of the opening up a lunch box just to see that half the peach was eaten and everything else is still just sitting there. “I dunno, it didn’t look good, Dad.”
How do you deal with kid’s lunches? And, more generally, do you try to avoid corn syrup and similar sweetener additives too?