Friday, February 4, 2011

My Dilemma - Preschool Lunch

After much though and debate, we have come to the conclusion that it is time for our toddler to begin preschool.  She has successfully completed potty training and is trying to learn everything she possibly can, so we knew it was time.  So today I spent my day going to preschools trying to find just the right one for my little princess.

I found that each school has some good qualities and some bad qualities.  It seems impossible to find one that meats all of your (well mine) expectations.  The one thing that they all had in common was the lunch menu.  Not one school offered a meat free option for lunch.  

Not only were there no meat free options, but they weren't exactly the healthiest options.  In fact, two of the schools I saw were serving lunch at the time I visited and they were both serving hot dogs. Hot dogs!! I think hot dogs are the worst food you can serve to your children! There is absolutely no nutritional benefit to eating them.  Even if I served my toddler meat, she would never get hot dogs.  But that is enough about hot dogs, I could go on but I will leave that for another post. 

I realized today that I am a vegetarian living in a carnivore's world! I have been reminded just how challenging it is going to be to raise a vegetarian child in our society.  Even though there are many options now for vegetarians, these options are not available in most places that cater to children.  I am surprised that a place that is designed to teach and educate our young, does not also teach the importance of a healthy meal with alternative options to eating meat.

Now I am sure that when they plan their meals they are thinking about what kinds of foods the children are more likely to eat.  I can understand how difficult lunch time could be with fifty children that don't want to eat their food.  I go crazy with just one! But I feel they could try better.  Why must they include meat every day of the week? They could offer at least two that do not.  Would that require too much thinking on their part?

So here's my dilemma. The school I liked the most, does not allow you to bring your child their own lunch.  They can only eat the food provided by the school.  So now what? Do I pick a school that I feel is not as good so I can feed her what I want?  Or do I sacrifice my vegetarian beliefs so she can have a better curriculum? 

Oh the dilemma!! I suppose I can tell them that she doesn't eat meat and ask them to not serve her the meat; but then she will be lacking protein in every meal and I can not send her anything to supplement her meal.  And we know that she is going to want to eat the same thing that she sees all the other children eating. I could sure use some advice right now from other veggie moms.  I would love to hear how other moms deal with this issue.  Right about now I am wishing there was a vegetarian or vegan preschool.  Could there be such a thing? Maybe I should start one!