In an effort to establish healthy eating habits early, an increasing number of US schools are keeping closer tabs on what’s going on in the lunchroom. That doesn’t just begin and end with what school cafeterias are serving — some are also taking a peek into what you’re packing, too. But do administrators really have the right to tell parents what they can and can’t pack for their kids to eat? Minnesota mom Alicia Liebel Berg recently asked this very question after her son came home from school with a note that said his lunch was lacking vegetables. (And no, his pickles didn’t count, the note added.)
The mom first posted about the lunchbox note back in January.
On January 11, she shared on Twitter that her son’s school requires lunches to follow guidelines provided by the US Department of Agriculture, which means they must include milk, a protein, a fruit, a grain or bread, and two servings of veggies — which can either be a quarter of a cup of veggies per serving or a quarter of a cup of a fruit and vegetable.
On February 12, the mom once again posted a photo of her son’s “lunch report” on Twitter, where one particular note caught her attention.
It appears that someone had circled “vegetables” on the report and written that “Pickles don’t count.”
Berg immediately began rolling her eyes at how strict the definition of a “veggie” was.
“Dear @USDA the #American #Farmer would vehemently disagree with you,” she captioned the post.
Apparently, the mom has certain theories behind why she thinks the school is so rigid about its lunch rules.
In a post from February 18, Berg explained that her son’s preschool has certain licensing requirements and she “suspect[s] there is a certain amount of funding tied to adhering to strict protocols.”
Whatever the reason, people on Twitter mostly agreed with her: The school was taking things a bit too far.
“You know whoever wrote that eats cold hot dogs dipped in cheese whiz for lunch,” one man joked in response.
“That’s overstepping for sure,” another person added. “I would start choosing one thing to leave out every day to cause more unnecessary work for them.”
“OMG! That is crazy,” someone else said bluntly.
Luckily, it looks like the mom isn’t actually that mad, and she has a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing.
She later posted the photo of a hilarious (and surprisingly apt) T-shirt on February 19, which read simply: “Pickles Don’t Count.”
At the end of the day, the debate does bring up a fair point: What if your picky eater will ONLY eat pickles? I think most moms out there would agree that getting their kids to eat anything green whatsoever is a huge win — pickles or not.