In the articles “Study finds school meals can be healthier than packed lunches” by Kathryn Doyle and “ Should You Pack Your Child’s Lunch?” By Anna North, both authors explore the debate about the health benefits of packed lunches versus school meals in elementary schools. Their arguments are based on the same research article about nutrition and behavior. The research concludes that packed lunches were in general of less nutritional quality than school lunches by containing more fat, sugar and not so healthy nutrients. Both articles are shaped argumentatively towards showcasing the school meals as being the better option and therefore should maybe be implemented as the only option. These two articles do not take into account the culture of various children and fail to address the relationship between food and culture and its importance in these kids identity building process.
“ The beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time” is the dictionary definition of culture. Another definition by is “ the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings, which is transmitted from one generation to another” (racismnoway.com). Culture is a crucial aspect in defining a person’s identity it directly relates to how we see ourselves and whom we identify to. In other words culture is transmitted through the way different people live and one essential part of people lives is food: what they eat, how they eat it and when they it. Therefore food is a vehicle of culture and directly related in identity building.
Based on the argument that we are what we eat, eating a particular food communicate to the rest of the world and to oneself information about the eater. Food becomes similarly to language a medium for communication. Depending on what you choose to eat information about your values, ethnicity, social class and even political views is conveyed and reinforced. Consequently when parents make their kids launches they are transmitting certain values and believes through the choices of the aliments.
Based on Nutrition research, home lunches might not be the healthiest but I think that to decide to completely eradicate them without considering the cultural aspect of it all would be wrong. Doyle mentions that it is important to implement those school meals early as children start to grow “preferences and behaviors toward food at a young age”. This stresses the importance of home meals. Kids at that age spend must of their days at school. School becomes a significant part of their lives and therefore a strong shaper in who they are and consequently who they will become. It is mostly important for kids coming from a different country or with parents of a different country. These parents have to make extra efforts in the when trying to transmit their culture to their kids living in a society that unfortunately, many times does not necessarily encourage foreign practices.
From personal experience, I can remember as a young immigrant attending elementary school, coming home from school and asking my parents to eat the same food I had at school so that I could be like the other kids and eventually challenging my parents when asked to do something in a certain way and telling them that’s not the way it should be done based on what I was experiencing at school. Must kids only have lunch and snacks at school as breakfast is at home before leaving to school…