food

"Stop snack shaming me. I'm not ignorant just busy."

I am just going to get this all out at the start. Lay it all out on the (lunch) table so to speak. I am ready to stop hiding behind the shame of those packets and out myself once and for all.

So here’s my big confession:

My kids eat packet food in their lunchboxes.

Yes, they eat snacks from tubs and containers bought from the supermarket and suck yoghurts from those little squeezy tubes adorned with cartoon characters.

Sure, they eat fruit, vegetables, meats and salads but no one seems to be interested in that. What seems to inflame the snack shamers of the world is those of us mums and dads who dare to cut corners and feed our children pre-packaged foods.

My kids eat packet food in their lunchboxes. Image via iStock.

We say we are busy. They say we are lazy. And the snack shaming continues.

I’m going to further flame the fans of outrage by letting you in on a secret – here's what was in my son’s lunch box today.

You ready? I hope you aren't too outraged.

There was a Vegemite sandwich (as usual), some grapes and two arrowroot biscuits with butter slathered between them. There was also a packet of sultanas and a yoghurt.

Oh the shame.

Not a homemade carrot and chai muffin to be seen. Not a lovingly crafted bliss ball or an organic home baked scroll. In fact the most I did was put the Vegemite on the bread and cut it in half before throwing it into it’s plastic resting place and shoving it into his school bag behind his homework.

My son's lunch box does not look like this.

It was probably a good day if I’m being really honest. Some days there are Tiny Teddies; some days there are Pizza Shapes. On occasion the sandwich is cheese and avocado. At other times it's jam or honey.

He’s had Cruskits and cheese and crackers, Saos with butter and small boxes of apricots.

Yeah there is always fruit for recess, along with a packet of popcorn or rice crackers. But sometimes, just sometimes (when I remember to buy them) he has those little tubs of fruit in syrup glossily sold with "no added colours or flavours" emblazoned all over them.

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I’m confessing because it seems each and every time I scroll through my Facebook feed, someone is shaming some time poor mother (yeah usually the mother) over what she chose to feed her hungry child that day.

I don’t choose to turn my kids' sandwiches into windmills or rabbit faces.

They frame it in terms of “helpful advice” and like to say, “we are all busy but..." they think we don’t realise that biscuits have sugar in them and they think we believe those fruit roll up strips are actually just made from pure fruit.

I’m here to tell you we know.

We know there is salt and saturated fat in the twice-weekly packet of Shapes they have. We know Tiny Teddies contain sugar – and cocoa and we are well aware that a jam sandwich is not a great everyday option.

But these are our choices and we make them knowingly and in the realisation that that this is a trade off.

You might get up at dawn to steam pots of organic kale and beetroot, to pick and roast your own chick peas for your child’s chickpea brownies, to slice up the whole-wheat tortillas for the home made “chips” you are going to bake but we don’t.

Look at what this mum puts in her children's lunch box every day. Post continues after video...

You might have neat little sacks of trail mix which you pack up every Sunday morning before you start baking those bread rolls and have all the time in the world to roll tahini balls.

But I choose not to.

I don’t choose to turn my kid’s sandwiches into windmills or rabbit faces. I don’t choose to carve apple slices into faces and frankly, I don’t poses the artistic ability required to make mosaics out of veggies. I don’t have the required machinery to make my own yogurt or blend my own spreads.

But most of all I don’t have time. I’m not shaming those who do. In fact I admire them. Those rabbit faces look ace.

Yum. Looks great. Aint got time to bake them.

But what I would like is those shaming us who don’t scrape and bake and carve to stop. Stop the judging.

My kids run and jump and play. They play cricket and tennis and swimming and Austag. They kick balls in the garden till dark and jump high on their trampoline shrieking with laughter until the neighbours plead with me to take them indoors.

They eat fruit or vegetables with every meal and the packet snack food they eat is what I mindfully choose to feed them to save me time.

So here’s a deal I’ll make you.

If you stop snack shaming me for buying packet foods for lunch boxes, I promise to tell you every time your child is at my house and begs me for just one more packet of Rice Wheels because they are better than anything mum ever makes at home.

Are we on?

Have you been snack shamed for what's in your child's lunch box?

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