Thursday, October 15, 2015

Food for thought

So I was out on a run with a group of friends the other day and one of them said, "you know what, Vern, you should write about Lunchables on your blog. That would be fun".  Well I believe in giving the people what they want so here it is, Barbara...My view on Lunchables.


First of all, they are complete crap as far as nutrition goes so if you are delusional and think you are saving your kids from the school lunches by packing them one of these bad boys, you are so WRONG. (To be clear, I am not suggesting that a school lunch is better than a Lunchable merely that a lunchable is not necessarily a better choice either.)  I guess what I am trying to say (poorly I might add) is, they suck equally; School lunches and Lunchables are both EQUALLY AWFUL and HORRIBLE options to feed your children.  However, I realize this is a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM and millions of children around the globe would do better on Lunchables or School Lunches than they are doing on NOTHING and CRAP WATER often laden with microbes that make them ill with dysentery or worse...

This is the horrible reality of this hard, cruel world.  While our children face the challenges of inactivity, obesity and too much screen time, millions of children are dying for a sip of potable water and a few morsels of food. Yet here in America, parents still feel the need to give their kids more. This is very perplexing to me and I don't have it all figured out, I am just pointing out some interesting noticings of mine.  This is one of the world's greatest tragedies in my opinion.  Obesity (and all its related health concerns) is arguably our culture's greatest health challenge while people in places like Haiti and Africa are literally starving to death.  It breaks my heart.  Think about it for a few minutes because I am all about keeping things light, fluffy  and fun on my blog; I am nothing if not carefree and funny, but this issue is a real ISSUE.  Take action to make a difference in the world today.  Instead of spending more quarters in the gumball machine to keep your kids in line at the store, put your change in a change jar and donate it to a developing country through an organization like GLA Haiti or TWP when it gets full.  Every penny counts! EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Okay enough of that heavy stuff, it's making me tired and kinda hungry. Maybe I will go fetch a QUICK Lunchable!!!  Just kiddin', you couldn't pay me enough to eat one of those!  But seriously, back to the Lunchables. The blessed Lunchables.  I found a really great article you should check out for more details about how Lunchables Suck.

IF you want just the cliff notes version of the article because like me you lack an attention span longer than that of a two-year old on a cotton candy high, this summary paragraph is perfect for you:
     If a big advantage of Lunchables is that they require little thought on the part of the parents, a big downside is that they teach our children that food shouldn't require much thought or that eating needn't be preceded by thinking.  And that's what makes Oscar Mayer's cardboard-clad "meals" particularly tragic.  Besides coarsening kids' palates, they teach kids that shrink-wrapped convenience is the norm, that taking the time to make a sandwich or peel some fruit is a problem that needs an industrial "solution" like Lunchables and that you don't have to think about what you eat at all.

Do I hear an AMEN?
So aside from providing possibly less nutrition than the very box they come in and more sodium than a couple pounds of bacon, Lunchables are also full of sugar, preservatives and other artificial stuff.  And they teach our kids that food comes from a pretty yellow box instead of from mother earth and our dear farmers!  Oh and I bet their shelf life is longer than a bottle of moonshine, or Aunt Rita's fruit cake, or possibly even a pair of leather shoes!  Who knows, with all those preservatives they might out live me!

But wait there's more!  Lunchables are spendy too ya'll; they are downright expensive.  Between 3 and 5 dollars a piece to be exact!  Not only do they pollute our children's precious bodies, but we are spending a pretty penny to do so.  It is truly outrageous and yet on occasion I have served Lunchables to my trio.

Case in Point:  I will share this story with you despite the fact that it is a tad embarrassing for me. I will do this because:
  • I trust you... to share it with everyone you know. (How else will my blog go viral)
  • I care about you.  (I care about humanity in general, but especially about you!)
  • I want to help you feel better about your parenting skills (Trust me, you will!)
Here you go!
My friend--we will call her Patty to protect her identity and so that my real friend is in no way, shape, or form associated with my questionable parenting techniques-- anyhow my friend's daughter was with me for the day.  Patty's eldest child that is and she was helping me and my eldest child during pre-race week at our house (Pre-race week is the week leading up to the 5K that I direct Brainy Day 5k and it is arguably the craziest, most hectic week of the year at our house.  Think Christmas season on steroids and you get an idea of what it's like). So the three of us were cranking out lots of errands, and trail preparations, and box hauling and other manual work.  It was seriously a very productive day, but at roughly 3PM when I realized we had been working for about 6 hours without so much as a water break, I decided to swing through the local grocery store to fetch a quick lunch for the girls.  This decision was based on my fear that CPS or annoying Labor Law professionals might show up to investigate the matter and I really didn't have time to be interrogated or deal with other bureaucratic red tape that day. So in that moment I was responsible and made time to get them lunch. A quick lunch.  And nothing says quick lunch like the Lunchable.  I led the girls to the impressive display of various lunchables and instructed the girls to quickly pick one so we could return to our never ending chore list.  Now because Lunchables are viewed so favorably by children, it took them a LONG TIME to select just the right one. After searching for what seemed like a lifetime, Patty's child piped up with, "this is so cool. I have never had one of these before I cant wait to eat it!" and that my friends is when I nearly lost it.  In that instance, I felt like the worst mom ever.  I wanted to curl up on that disgustingly dirty grocery store floor in the fetal position and cry a pool of self loathing tears.  Honestly my kids have had a Lunchable at least annually, if not bi-annually, since the age of two (To make matters worse, there is probably some choking hazard on them about not being recommended for kids under 3) and here Patty's kid was having never had even one at the ripe age of 9!  How had I failed so miserably as a mom?  It was disappointing and embarrassing for me and made me question my worthiness as a parent. The girls didn't notice my moment of pain and suffering; they were too busy celebrating their selections!  Instead of whining, crying or laying on that dirty floor and throwing an all out tantrum, I am pretty sure I said something like, "welcome to the world of crap food, ugh I mean Lunchables...Bon Appetit! Now, let's get back to work."


See you feel better about your parenting now don't you? I bet you've never fed Lunchables to your kids either?!

PS This is all just my opinion and some interesting facts that I found regarding Lunchables.  I by no means claim to be a nutrition expert and I clearly do not have time to deal with a law case involving slander I mean I don't even have time for CPS to interrogate take this for what it's worth (cheap entertainment) and enjoy lunch today.

PPS and honestly despite all of this research I have done, I will likely continue to feed my kids Lunchables at least once a year until they turn 18 at which time their food choices are all their own.  I like to think I have taught them to eat mostly healthy with a little bit of unhealthy for good measure. 

PPPS I know I am modeling good physical activity practices for my kids because they still get babysitters so they can go for a run every time they play house!

PPPPS apparently I am losing it more than I realized because I credited Barbara with the inspiration for this post and she claims it wasn't claim credit for this concept please respond to this post or correct me next time we run together whoever you are!!!

Vern Out

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