"Please choose healthier options." Mum receives note shaming her child's lunchbox.

A mother-of-eight in South Australia has been issued a “warning” from her child’s kindergarten because she packed chocolate slice in her three-year-old’s lunchbox.

Worse than this, however, was the way the warning was written as if it was for the three-year-old.

“Your child has chocolate slice from the Red Food Category. Please choose healthier options for Kindy,” the sign reads.

The oversized, orange-coloured text displayed beneath a sad face emoji.

The chocolate slice was homemade and it was leftover birthday cake.

School lunchbox politics on This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

Melinda Reist, who is a friend of the mother, posted a photograph of the letter to social media, with the caption:

“My friend (mother of eight healthy children) received this today from her three-year-old’s kindy. I told her to put in two slices tomorrow and tell them to get lost.”

The reaction was divided. And called into question the “traffic light” system employed by many kindergartens to ensure children are bringing only “green” and “amber” category foods into class.

It’s a government initiative that has “Red foods” – such as soft drinks, pastry sweets and chocolate slices – labelled “Stop” and forbidden from lunch boxes.

Many parents responded to Reist’s Facebook post. Some had received similar letters from kindergartens. Others were outraged at the “nanny state” approach to packing lunch boxes.

“This happened to my wife when she sent in sugar-free zucchini brownies, our son was the same age,” wrote one dad.


“One of my children went to a kindy that ‘strongly encouraged’ only carrot cake for birthdays. I sent the biggest chocolate cake I could make in my oven when it was my daughter’s birthday :) I think the teacher aide was secretly very excited LOL.”

“Since when are pre-school teachers qualified dietitians?”

“I think the way it’s delivered is humiliating. Why not send home a letter to all patents saying what’s allowed and what’s not. Don’t make parents feel like they are Kindy kids!”

“Oh that’s a bit over the top ….!! Clear guidelines about food in a handbook is one thing this is another!… plus … are we not allowed a little treat for afternoon tea?”

Other commenters were more understanding of the kindergarten, agreeing that solving the obesity problem in Australia needs to start somewhere.

“This is pretty normal for kinders and schools trying to combat childhood obesity and help parents who don’t healthy diets for their children. I don’t see the concept as unreasonable…”

“A poor method of communicating their concern to the parents, but the early childhood national quality framework actually states that healthy eating needs to be embedded in their program. This is a part of the standards for remaining an accredited placement.”

“I work in a kinder and unfortunately kids lunches are often filled with “unhealthy” sugar filled food. They need to make it a blanket rule even if your child, like mine, eat healthy all the time and it’s just a treat.”

Whatever the way, I hope the little one was able to enjoy their treat in the end. Particularly if it was just a one-off.