I like food. I like cooking food, eating food, watching TV shows about food, even looking at pictures of food online. Before my kids were born, I decided that I would do whatever I had to do to ensure that they'd be good eaters. I think we're doing a halfway decent job so far. We always eat dinner as a family, even though that means that the meal is a bit more frenzied, and served a bit earlier than the adults would like. The kiddos are fairly adventurous, and will at least taste anything we put in front of them.
I searched high and low looking for the right food containers to send to daycare. I wanted something that was leakproof. I wanted something microwave safe. I wanted compartments, but I wanted the option that some of the compartments could be kept cold and others could be heated. We've been using this, and so far been really happy with it. I do my best to make sure to pack a variety of different things. The daycare teachers report that the kids love to eat.
But then they moved to the toddler room. And the daycare provides food for kids in the toddler room and up. Some parents still pack lunches, but I think most happily let their kids eat what is provided. From what I can see, the meals are a rotation of hot dogs, pizza, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, ziti, and mac and cheese (no joke, just 6 items). The sides are canned fruit, and canned veggies topped with a healthy dose of country crock. Not exactly the quality or variety I want my kids eating every day. So I've continued to pack lunches. But their end of the day reports show that the kids have been getting daycare food too. Nobody even asked me if it was okay to give to them.
For a few days, I struggled over how to address this. It appears that most of the kids there eat the daycare food. I didn't want to be know as the bitch who thinks her kids are too good for the food that is perfectly fine for all the other kids. The head teacher, who I needed to talk to about the issue was out for a few days, so that bought my chickenshit ass as little more time. Besides, how much damage could a little grilled cheese do. But then it happened. Somebody gave my kids chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets scare me. It pushed me to stop being a wimp, and I talked to someone immediately. Though of course, I couldn't bring myself to say that I thought the food they served was poor quality and I didn't want my kids to have it. I just asked if there was a problem with the food I was sending, or if I wasn't sending enough. It turns out that, being typical toddlers, my kids just want what all the other kids have if their own lunch isn't one of their favorites. Apparently, they cry, whine, point and beg when they see that other kids are eating something different.
I'm at a bit of a loss on what to do. I don't want my kids to be hungry, and I know that there is not enough staff at the daycare to sit with them for however long it takes to decide they're willing to eat what I've packed. And it's impossible to force feed a toddler. They can't be separated from the other kids at mealtimes. Because I was in a hurry to get to work, the only thing I could think to say at the time was that I didn't want them getting any meat. I figure that's the worst of the stuff they'd be getting there. At the moment, I think my best option for dealing with the other stuff is to pack the tried and true stuff they love for their lunches, in the hopes that it distracts them from the other stuff. I've been wrestling with the way I've handled the situation all day, wondering if I made the right choice. I can't decide if it's better for them to eat something that's not what I would chose to serve, or be hungry. Am I being a food snob by saying I don't want them eating daycare food, or am I being irresponsible for not stopping it immediately? In the meantime, if anyone has any toddler friendly recipes they'd like to share, I'm all ears!
9 months ago