I have a confession to make. For a couple of weeks in April, I allowed my daughters to place a little bag of Doritos in their lunch boxes. Many people will think I'm ridiculous for feeling this is something to confess to, but I know a lot of you out there struggle with the same feelings I have about junk food. I never thought I'd feed my kids processed food, but after a lot of thought, I came to the conclusion that a few Doritos were actually good for them.
Okay, they're not good for their health or digestive system (obviously), but they may just be good for their general ideas about food and food consumption. Many people will disagree with this statement, but hear me out.
When I first started packing my daughters' lunches in Kindergarten, I would include organic yogurt, tofu bologna and turkey sandwiches, apples slices or strawberries, cheese, and a slew of other healthy choices. They devoured these meals, each day returning with empty lunch boxes and happy faces. In first grade, they started to tell me about other kids' lunches. They started to become very opinionated about the visual buffet before them each lunch period. I got some ideas from the other moms, such as sending miso soup in a thermos and chopping up fresh mozzarella cheese with grape tomatoes for a side salad. Meanwhile, my daughters started to question the lunches some of their schoolmates brought each day. Why did some kids get bright orange chips in a bag while they never did, and what were those yellow plastic lunch trays with pizza and nachos in them (the answer was Lunchables, a mass-produced Kraft product advertised to look fun, with it's own game site marketed to unwitting kids)?
I explained what these things were, noting that everyone's food choices were a personal matter best discussed in their own families, while also making it clear that those food choices weren't mine. Meanwhile, I continued with my own school-lunch repertoire and thought all was fine and good until my daughters started reporting on who had "unhealthy" lunches. I quickly found out who had Lunchables, who had Ding Dongs, and who had Doritos in their backpacks. I started to feel uncomfortable with the sanctimonious tone my daughters used when ratting out their peers, and cringed when one said that my lunches were healthy because I loved them (which seemed to imply the kids with Lunchables were unloved).