Advocate for Your Child's Diet at School
by Janice Carlin, PhD, CHHP, CHNP, CNHP
Copyright © 2023 Janice Carlin All Rights Reserved.
Feeding children a nutrient-dense, clean diet, free from inflammatory foods is a basic foundation for them to be healthy. And it takes work!
Don’t let your hard work be derailed when they go to school and eat all kinds of chemical and sugar-laden foods and treats.
For healing to happen, consistency is important.
You need to know that children are given junky, inflammatory foods often at school! As a former teacher and parent, I have seen it happen in every type of school - public, charter, and private.
Here are the kinds of occasions kids are given food or treats at school:
rewards from teachers
breakfasts, snacks, and lunches they are served through the school
treats that are brought in from other parents to celebrate birthdays, holidays, or special events
projects using food that they get to eat
fundraising events that involve foods and desserts sold at school
foods shared from other children’s lunches and snacks
school-wide sports, concerts, or celebration events
as snacks in after-school programs.
You have to be your child’s voice at school. Teachers don’t know the harm they are doing by allowing these things to happen.
Here’s what you can do to protect their bodies and their well-being from exposures to harmful foods:
Communicate to every teacher with whom your child interacts and let them know that your child is not to be given any food or candy. Tell them to let you know when there will be occasions that this may happen so you can plan ahead and send something for your child to enjoy that is safe for them. It's ok to tell them your child is on a healing diet protocol that must be taken seriously.
Teach your child how different foods and chemicals affect their bodies. Help them to understand that if they want to be their best in school, they need to protect themselves from exposure to these things. Encourage them to speak up and to say no. However, keep in mind that you have to be their advocate. Kids experience a lot of pressure and confusion around this because it is usually other adults who are providing the food and candies to them.
Be prepared for them to come home and tell you that treats were given that day that you were unaware of. Teachers are not used to thinking this way and sometimes will not remember to give you a head's up. It can help to have healthy snacks ready to go like grain-free cookies in the freezer to defrost and serve as needed, frozen bananas to blend into soft-serve ice cream, cut-up pieces of fruits they like, sweet nuts (made with ghee or coconut oil, cinnamon, and raw honey or maple syrup and baked in the oven until dried), or sweet potato or carrot fries or chips.
Remember that advocating for and protecting your child from harmful exposures to junky foods is not denying them joy or happiness! In fact, it is doing quite the opposite. When they are feeling unwell, or cannot sit still or focus to be successful in school, they will not be happy.
As they grow up, they will learn to advocate for and protect themselves in the world. While they are still young, show them how by modeling and teaching them.