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Darn210

School Cafeteria . . . Disappointment

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A friend of mine had a daughter with Celiac disease. She told me she worked with the school district's dietician to determine which days her daughter could buy the hot lunch. I'm in a different school district, so this year, I talked with OUR school dietician. We determined that my daughter could have the hot dog (not bun) the hamburger (no bun) and the nachos supreme. There were a couple of others but my daughter wouldn't pick those items anyway. I decided to start with the nachos supreme. It comes totally prepackaged from the manufacturer. I would not have to talk with the (local) cafeteria personnel about safe handling like I would for bunless hotdogs or hamburgers.

The school lunch menu has a three week rotation. This mean that once every three weeks, my daughter could buy the hot lunch. She was thrilled.

Last week she got sick after eating the nachos supreme. I went in the next morning to talk to the cafeteria manager. She showed me a label off of the tortilla corn chips. They contained wheat and oats!!!!

I left a message for the dietician on Monday and she called me this morning. The chips that my daughter ate were not the ones that she approved. The supply company had swapped them out. She didn't realize that they could do that but her investigation showed that the food contract was based on price and "similar" items. She was terribly sorry about the situation and I know she learned something about helping parents of kids with allergies/intolerances and food supply contracts . . . and I learned my lesson, too. I can really only trust myself to be dilligent with my daughter's food.

Just thought I would share our experience in case anyone else finds themself trying to work with their school's hot lunch program.

We're still dissapointed, though. :(

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I've found it easier just to bring lunch. In a pinch, I can get a premade salad...which is pretty much iceberg lettuce (they never have croutons or anything), sometimes soymilk, chips, fruit, things like that. Not the most balanced lunch but it works. Really I just find it easier to bring lunch.

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I'm sorry your daughter got ill from the school lunch. :( That is really annoying because you worked so hard to try to prevent it.

I don't know if it will help you, but we have been able to get a school lunch plan set up for my son with our school district dietician, and it has been working out very well. Their staff is trained that they are not allowed to prepare the lunch if the supplier changes for any reason. I have posted the process we had to go through and the menus that the dietician came up with over here: http://tinyurl.com/28j44e. My son is actually the first child in the school district to get a celiac-safe lunch from the central kitchen. I almost feel like we are trendsetters. :)

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We also pack lunches most of the time. I believe that is the safest way.Our school will heat foods or micro foods that we request be heated. Many days we actually make fesh at home & then run it to school... we try to match whatever the school menu has on there list for the day Ie: pizza on Monday, tacos on tues. We can let our crew eat the same items only gluten-free. But I have found other kids try to swap there goodies for gluten-free goodies..... Ie: twinkies, ice cream sandwiches,cupcakes....Our kids love to take the soft breadsticks & dip in sauce & even the aides ask for some they smell so good... We use the recipe CarrieFaith posted in the recipe section.

We have a safe box in each kids room too..... for snacking

hth

mamaw

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That really stinks, but you'll find many of us pack lunches all the time for our kids, simply to avoid such issues and keep the kiddos healthy.

One option you might consider for ease, is a 504 plan that includes the use of a microwave so your child's meals can be reheated if you pack leftovers. gluten-free leftovers cold aren't always the best, but almost as always, taste fine when heated.

My daughter's school offers NOTHING that is gluten-free but she goes to a small, private Catholic school. Next year she will go to a public school and we are definitely thinking about a 504 plan simply to ensure she has a microwave available for her to use.

As for packing lunches, this has really been a lifesaver for us:

http://www.laptoplunches.com

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It really isn't about not wanting to have to pack a lunch . . . we pack a lunch the other 14 days (in the 15 day lunch cycle). It was just that she got to buy her lunch like the other kids. And I really thought it would be safe since all the items were prepackaged. I just hadn't taken into consideration supplier changes. There was nothing in place that would notify me or stop her from buying. I'm just trying to let people know that if they are trying to work out a hot lunch program for their child, that is just one of the things to plan for.

I'm sorry your daughter got ill from the school lunch. :( That is really annoying because you worked so hard to try to prevent it.

I don't know if it will help you, but we have been able to get a school lunch plan set up for my son with our school district dietician, and it has been working out very well. Their staff is trained that they are not allowed to prepare the lunch if the supplier changes for any reason. I have posted the process we had to go through and the menus that the dietician came up with <a href="http://forums.gluten free.com/topic6072.html" target="external nofollow">over here</a>. My son is actually the first child in the school district to get a celiac-safe lunch from the central kitchen. I almost feel like we are trendsetters. :)

Colleen, that is awesome . . . but your link didn't work :huh:

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It really isn't about not wanting to have to pack a lunch . . . we pack a lunch the other 14 days (in the 15 day lunch cycle). It was just that she got to buy her lunch like the other kids. And I really thought it would be safe since all the items were prepackaged. I just hadn't taken into consideration supplier changes. There was nothing in place that would notify me or stop her from buying. I'm just trying to let people know that if they are trying to work out a hot lunch program for their child, that is just one of the things to plan for.

Colleen, that is awesome . . . but your link didn't work :huh:

Sorry about that. This board eats my links a lot of the time. I fixed it above and I will put it here again: http://tinyurl.com/28j44e

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When I was a kid I did not have celiac yet, and I brought my lunch from home everyday. My parents had brainwashed me about the need for healthy food so I was never jealous of the other kids eating school lunch. In fact, I distinctly remember being terrified about forgetting my lunch because I was scared to go through the hot lunch line. I mean, how would I know what to do and what food to take and when to pick up a knife and fork and how to put my lunch ticket in the bucket??? My parents had also emphasized the money thing, and I guess hot lunch cost more than lunch from home. It was never even something I thought about - I just didn't get hot lunch. Although I did find my lunches rather boring. A sandwich, apple and pretzels isn't very exciting to an eight-year-old.

Anyway, long story, but if you send your kid with fun lunch everyday, I'm sure she'll eventually get used to it.

Oh, and on second thought, I wonder if I didn't get hot lunch because I was allergic to dairy and sugar as a kid. It made me super hyper so I'm sure my mother was perfectly happy to pack me a lunch in exchange for me being a nice, calm child. I remember there being rules against trading food, too. I wasn't allowed to trade food until sixth grade, and then only on Fridays. I got chips and salsa that day because it was something the other kids would want to trade with me.

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I'm sorry your daughter got ill from the school lunch. :( That is really annoying because you worked so hard to try to prevent it.

I don't know if it will help you, but we have been able to get a school lunch plan set up for my son with our school district dietician, and it has been working out very well. Their staff is trained that they are not allowed to prepare the lunch if the supplier changes for any reason. I have posted the process we had to go through and the menus that the dietician came up with over here: http://tinyurl.com/28j44e. My son is actually the first child in the school district to get a celiac-safe lunch from the central kitchen. I almost feel like we are trendsetters. :)

Colleen,

Are you in the Vancouver School District??

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Colleen,

Are you in the Vancouver School District??

Nope - we're in about 2 hours north of there, just up from Tacoma.

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Janet,

Wow, what a complete BUMMER. I mean, since she's been gluten-free since last spring, I'm sure she's well used to carrying her lunch to school. But that's not really the point--

While she probably doesn't mind carrying her lunch, it would have been nice for her to have a day once in awhile that she could eat what everyone else is eating. It would help her feel normal. The desire to fit in and feel like you belong, is NORMAL and NATURAL.

While we don't want to let that get out of control, as it sometimes does in kids, it is normal and shouldn't be dismissed or ignored.

After you went through all that effort for her happiness, I just hate that it didn't work out. :( Very disappointing. I'm glad you posted this. People need to remember that something that's safe one day, may not be the next.

((Hugs!))

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I got to Colleen's post okay!

That is so exciting to have a school district actually care about one student. We have a handful of private schools who prepare gluten-free foods each morning for their gluten-free student but never in the public school system.

We were excited just to be permitted to use freezer space & a microwave!!!

Maybe you could suggest they do a national article so the word can get out it can be done & also done safely.

Heck, our local hospital can't even do good gluten-free anything!!!!!

I guess we all better start thinking of moving to Washinton State!!!!

Colleen, was it difficult to get them moving on this or they just agreed?

thanks for the info & your good news....

mamaw

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I got to Colleen's post okay!

That is so exciting to have a school district actually care about one student. We have a handful of private schools who prepare gluten-free foods each morning for their gluten-free student but never in the public school system.

We were excited just to be permitted to use freezer space & a microwave!!!

Maybe you could suggest they do a national article so the word can get out it can be done & also done safely.

Heck, our local hospital can't even do good gluten-free anything!!!!!

I guess we all better start thinking of moving to Washinton State!!!!

Colleen, was it difficult to get them moving on this or they just agreed?

thanks for the info & your good news....

mamaw

It wasn't hard at all to get it implemented. I actually wasn't going to even try, but when we were updating the paperwork with the school nurse, she said suggested that I talk to the dietician about it. I was so impresses with the understanding she had about preventing CC. She already had several kids on a nut free diet, so this was just a variation of the lunches they prepare for those kids.

I realize our situation is probably unique, but I really think with a little effort most other school systems could do the same thing. That's one of the main reasons I posted the menus on the link above - so people could have something to take to their school dietician as an example.

Also, since I am still an anal overprotective mother, I only let my son buy lunch once a week and we have his antibodies tested yearly.

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Oh bummer!! But hang in there --- my son's school has responded really well (he's in a middle school of about 700 students) and the other day when he went to get fries, the cafeteria aide goes "Wait! Let's double check the label, these are new". And when they buy bagged chips, they always set aside a few for the kids with allergies, so those don't get sold out to "regular" kids.

He goes to high school next year, where there are sufficient numbers of celiac and wheat-reactive kids that they stock Amy's mac/cheese as an alternate selection :)

joanna

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The elementary school I teach at (in Oregon) is managing a gluten-free hot lunch once a week for a celiac first grader. Eating hot lunch at school is part of being a "big" first grader--she just felt so left out. There are two other celiac kids in our building. Anyway, if there are any uncertainties about food all the teachers know to send them to me, and we read labels together. Once or twice we've gone to the kitchen to investigate. Perhaps as the diagnosis of celiac becomes more common there will be more adults in the schools who can help monitor the food. (Last year the little girl couldn't remember my name and just called me the label reader!)

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Our public schools have lunches that are like airline lunches , ready made & just heated up.... no cooking in our cafeteria' like some schools do.....

We were excited just to be permitted to use the fridge & micro. ANd tha twas a big thing for the school to agree upon!!!!!

Is it a law that if hot lunches are served to reg kids then the schools must provide for kids with allergies---- I don't think I would trust anyone to cook a meal for my gluten-free kids!!!!I think I'm to protective but if someone hasn't walked the walk they are not as careful as they should be....thats my opinion.......

Colleen, I'm so glad for you & your child to have things work out so well..... And I agree if she took care of kosher foods she would know.....

mamaw

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