i just reread my own post and i realized that i had started writing one point and got sidetracked with dd and it ended up being a non-sequitur. sorry about that...busy afternoon...
i guess i was trying to point out that our attitudes and choices about food are very culturally driven, and that there are other cultures where it is the norm to provide children with healthy, nourishing and fun food choices that don't require overly processed and/or artificial food.
for example...the phenomenon of the "lunchable". it's sorta kinda a play on the whole bento concept, especially now that there's a lot of 'cute' cross marketing with licensed characters etc.
the concept is brilliant...but the execution is poor at best. those things are so laden with fats, artificial flavors and colors, sodium etc. i don't think anyone would argue that they aren't very good for kids or anyone, for that matter (and the environmental aspect of the packaging is a whole other OT beast). but i used to work in the school system and saw so many kids eat these for lunch. can we discuss the prevalence of lunchables and other uber-processed convenience foods (which as you mentioned are also extremely expensive in comparison to making food at home). what if any are the redeeming qualities of these kinds of foods besides the convenience factor and the fact that kids like them that make them so popular, because they sure aint cheap? what is the upside of giving blue applesauce, purple yogurt that comes in plastic tubes, and little chewy balls of HFCS and artificial coloring that come in the guise of fruit snacks?
i'm honestly curious...is it that most people just don't have any concept of nutrition and the impact of junk/processed/artificial foods on growing bodies and brains? i know i'm very fortunate at this point in my evolving mama-hood that the mamas that i roll with are all really into nutrition/whole foods so i know my own personal sample is skewed.
if the answer is yes...then doesn't it stand to reason that we (collective we) need to get the information out there in some way, whether it's gently, tactfully and socially gracefully
approach other parents, or to encourage schools and other organizations to sponsor talks by local health care professionals regarding nutritious food choices?
if the answer is no...then it is
: that people are knowingly, willingly (albeit lovingly) pumping their kids full of chemicals that are not only suboptimal, but very possibly harmful to their little bodies and growing brains.and as many pp's have mentioned...the case of children with special needs is an entirely different topic...i have worked with and known many children with sensory/feeding issues so it goes without saying that this is totally different in light of that.