Mom fined for kids’ ‘lunch box supplement’

A parent in Manitoba, Canada was fined for sending her kids to daycare with “unbalanced” lunches.

But before you applaud the daycare for pushing for healthy lunches, consider what the mother packed: leftover homemade roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and some milk.

The problem? The meal didn’t include any grains.

So the daycare supplemented the lunch with Ritz crackers and fined the mother $10 ($5 per child).

The mother shared her story – and a photo of her “lunch box supplement note” – with Yoni Freedhoff, a family doctor and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute. Freedhoff posted the story and photo on his blog, Weighty Matters, on Monday.

lunch fine

Apparently, the daycare came up with the policy based on the Manitoba government’s early learning and child care lunch regulations.

“Apparently if a child’s lunch is deemed ‘unbalanced,’ where ‘balance’ refers to ensuring that a lunch conforms to the proportions of food groups as laid out by Canada’s awful Food Guide, then that child’s lunch is ‘supplemented,’ and their parent is fined,” Freedhoff wrote.

The mother told Freedhoff had she sent lunches with “microwave Kraft Dinner and a hot dog, a package of fruit twists, a Cheestring, and a juice box” there wouldn’t have been any problems.

Those whole-food lunches, however, need Ritz crackers, which come with 6.5 grams of fat and 3.1 grams of saturated fat.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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