Should we ignore the lunchbox police?

A Melbourne mum is miffed at her child’s school. She sent her little one off to what looks like the school’s kindergarten program, judging by the note, with a small lamington.

Said lamington was sent home, with a note saying her kid wasn’t allowed to eat it because it didn’t comply with their “nutrition policy”.

I have three very big thoughts about this.


The first is: hats off to the school for having a nutrition policy! Man, we’ve come a long way, haven’t we? When I was in primary school… ahem, a few decades ago… I can remember buying 1c lollies, sausage rolls and jam donuts with my lunch money. These days, those items rarely exist in a school canteen, so let’s give ourselves some props.

Thought number two? It’s school policy to follow the rules, whatever the rules may be. What are you teaching your kids if you run to the media when you don’t get your way? You should address it with the school, not via the court of public opinion – that particular school obviously has a strong stance on healthy eating, so get with the program.

As for thought number three: as much as I appreciate how far we’ve come, I’m glad my kids don’t go to this school. Because I would literally get a note every day if they did!

My kids’ lunchboxes are pretty much the same every day. They get a sandwich (on white bread, no less), a piece of fruit, some cheese and one ‘treat, which may be a homemade cookie or slice, a bag of tiny teddies, a mini lamington or similar.

They eat a healthy breakfast, like eggs on toast, weetbix, fruit, natural yoghurt with honey and oats, or homemade bagels with cream cheese.

And they eat healthy dinners full of vegetables and protein – they often protest and take an hour to eat, but they choke it down every night all the same.

So, I don’t mind them having a treat in the lunchbox. It gives them something sweet and fun to look forward in what might otherwise be a drab day. What’s the harm?

We regularly see these stories in the media of notes going home to educate parents about their nutritional choices. Maybe they’re well intentioned, but they could be going overboard.

See a kid with a full-sized Mars bar in their lunchbox? Send a note. Spy a lamington in an otherwise healthy lunchbox? Move along, there’s nothing to see here…