Preschooler’s School Lunch is Confiscated: Chicken Nuggets vs. Turkey and Cheese

Which is healthier? You be the judge.

Is a turkey and cheese sandwich unhealthy? How about a banana or apple juice?

A recent article brought up lots of questions and concerns from parents and grandparents. Apparently, a North Carolina pre-school aged child’s lunch was ‘seized’ because it was not healthy enough.


The child’s lunch was replaced with a cafeteria meal which contained of all things – chicken nuggets! Instead of enjoying a lunch of turkey and cheese, chips, banana, and apple juice that had been packed at home, the child was given a cafeteria tray lunch. The school might have supplemented her lunch if they thought it did not include proper nutritional ingredients. Instead, the child “was told to put her homemade lunch back in her lunchbox and set it on the floor,” according to the Carolina Journal report.

I wonder if the school checked to verify the child did not have any allergies to chicken or other by-products contained in the nuggets.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the NC Division of Health & Human Services supervises the school’s pre-K program, and according to DHHS spokeswoman Lori Walston, “The rules require that the provider supplement a lunch with any missing components. How a provider chooses to do that is up to them.” (Click here for more details on this story).

Okay, maybe the chips were a bit unhealthy, but the rest? And should it have been taken from the child rather than supplemented with an additional food item? And can the school really force a parent to pay for a lunch the parent did not request or approve? And sure, there might be facts that we don’t know – but could there be enough reason to do this to a preschooler?

There are several things wrong with this picture. First, since when does the school system and/or government decide what we as parents can pack in kid’s lunches? Secondly, are they kidding that processed chicken nuggets are better for the child than turkey, cheese, fruit and apple juice? And of course the question arises, are they really paying someone to take fresh fruit and apple juice away from the kids?

This article has brought up questions and debates around the country and we can’t help but wonder what our readers think about it. Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know.

As parents and grandparents, we all strive to overcome the issues associated with childhood obesity by teaching our children good nutritional habits. The lunch this child took that was prepared at home is very much like any lunch packed by other parents. And it’s a far cry from chicken nuggets.

You be the judge. Tell us what you think.

Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.