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Cafeteria food check in: Yogurt, not for breakfast

My six-year-old is always hungry when he gets to school -- even if he's just finished his toast or pancakes on the bike ride there. No matter the quantity or quality of the calories, he's hungry. And as our elementary is a school with a large enough percentage of free and reduced-price lunch families, breakfast is free for everyone; so he feels that breakfast is a must. (As an aside, this frustrates his teacher to no end; he and a few other of the not-so-early risers in the class eat their breakfast at their desk, delaying her reading group schedule. I don't know what to say; I can't get him out of bed any earlier, I'm literally carrying him out of bed as it is. He insists that he's hungry. I have no good solutions.)

So today when we went through the line, I saw the no-thank-you table chockfull of yogurt, so much that the cafeteria employees had set out a bin for it. Usually, the no-thank-you table works on equilibrium; there are roughly equal numbers of kids who don't want some of the mandatory breakfast items as those who are hungry for extra. I commented on this to the cafeteria worker.

She told me that she supposed most kids don't really see yogurt as a breakfast food; they think of eggs, potatoes and pancakes as breakfast food. This surprised me, as I don't remember this ever being the case at Bridger, where Truman and Everett went last year; yogurt on the no-thank-you table was usually snapped up by kids who could eat two or three.

Our family has always considered yogurt an acceptable breakfast food but I wondered if it might be cultural; the makeup of Bridger (lots of Hispanic kids) was very different than Grout (lots of caucasian kids and East African children). Even though it has rather more sugar than I'd like, I generally approve of yogurt, especially over those "bagel wraps" and a few of the other highly-processed breakfast options.

What about your school? What breakfast options are popular? Does your child seem to get hungry as soon as he approaches the cafeteria, too?

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Funny. I am eating my breakfast yogurt as I type this (even though it's 2:23pm)! I totally think of yogurt as a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack food, as well as a great pregnancy craving food (at least 6.5 years ago). I'm not sure what they serve for breakfast at Lewis, but yogurt for lunch comes in 2's, if it is your entree. I guess they consider that a full protein. I think one of the two normally goes in the "no thank you bin."

My kids have yogurt as an after school snack, but they rarely eat it for breakfast. I don't know how many kids like granola, but maybe if they had something crunchy to eat with it, they would get the idea that it can be fulfilling.

This post comes right at a time where we are looking for more breakfast things. And I havegreek yogurt in the fridge that I haven't even thought of...and we have granola too. Thanks for the reminder if nothing else.

My husband and I sometimes do eat yogurt as a breakfast thing, my daughter does not. But for both her and me breakfast options are somewhat limited since we both just HATE eggs. And she's probably the pickiest, most bizarre eater on the planet, anyway.

That said, I'm just completely envious of any parent who manages to get their kid to eat anything at school. Princess PickyPants has flatly and routinely refused any caferteria food, starting with pre-school.

When she started 1st grade (she's now in 6th), I wanted to drop her off 10-15 minutes prior to the early bell for my new job, which if she was in the cafeteria was fine. So I put $20 on her meal card.

I think it lasted 2 days before I adjusted my schedule. The only charge ever on that card in the next 5 years was when my husband "had lunch" with her at school. I just hope they used the funds on it to help feed some other kids.

My kids hate yogurt and have never eaten breakfast at school.. so I don't know the menu there. At home they eat cereal, eggs, or toast with cheese or peanut butter.

I've always considered yogurt breakfast food and never really eaten it any other time of day! My son eats it every morning. As for the school breakfast, that is the last thing my kids want to eat. I can still get by with "if you don't hurry up you'll need to eat breakfast at school." Gets them on task every time!

I'm not particularly a yogurt for breakfast eater, BUT -- my husband is. So my kid has often asked for it because her daddy likes it. Too often, I forget to offer it to her for breakfast - I think she'd wolf it down if I offered.

My kids (who happen to be Latino) wouldn't want yogurt for breakfast but I cannot say if its cultural or just personal. My husand and I wouldn't have it either bit maybe that's familial? They do like a warm breakfast and would prefer eggs, oatmeal or toast with nutella over something cold. Where I grew up kids have cafe con leche (heavy on the leche) but my youngest doesn't like it. They have Dutch friends who like yogurt for breakfast but they also eat melk hagel which is candy sprinkles you put on toast so maybe that cancels out the yogurt.

I know this sounds pedantic, but can't the North African refugees just be kids, like the Hispanic kids and the white kids? North African kids works fine, too. And also... I'm wondering if you mean East African? North Africa is generally Arab (Egypt, Libya, Morocco). If you mean kids who are black (well, more like dark brown, literally), you might mean sub-Saharan Africans. School stats show just under 14% of the school is African-American, which would cover sub-Saharans but probably not North Africans, interestingly, who count as white/caucasian in these kinds of stats.

My kids are East African, so I'm pretty sensitive to this, and I'm sorry if this is coming across as something other than constructive.

As far as yogurt: North Africans actually do tend to eat a lot of yogurt! So do Sudanese, actually. But, generally in the world, it's only white people who can process lactose into adulthood, so you'd actually expect yogurt-eating families to be those with white parents. This is vast-overgeneralization, of course. My East African kids are happy to eat yogurt, though we don't tend to have it at home for breakfast very often.

Why deny that there are cultural preferences around food?

Kelly, was that directed to me? Because I wasn't denying there are cultural preferences. I was objecting to list of kids as being, "Hispanic kids," "caucasian kids," and "North African refugees." They're all kids, you know? That was my point.

My kids self identify as Latino and being a minority admist a majority culture if you tried to lump them all together they would correct you. They are not just kids, they are Latino kids as they are reminded almost daily by their peers and so this pie in the sky bye and bye attitude does not reflect the reality of their lives. They are proud of the difference.

When you are told often that you belong in " Hillsburrito" your fantasy of just being a kid falls away pretty quickly.

Kelly, this is what I meant I would have liked to see:
Hispanic kids and
Caucasian kids and
North African *kids* (rather than North African *refugees*)

My kids very strongly identify with their birth culture as well. I don't think we're disagreeing here. Gees, my whole point is to try to be accurate and not call out one group of kids as being refugees when they are also kids! Seriously, I am not disagreeing with you! Go back and read the original post and you'll see what I mean.

Sorry for the diversion, all. I was only originally meaning to ask if the kids at Grout are actually "North African," which could mean they are from Egypt, Libya, etc, rather than from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, or other parts of East Africa.

And also my point was that we should be culturally sensitive and understand that not all kids can eat yogurt--in fact, most children of color will get to an age where they are lactose intolerant. So assuming all kids can eat yogurt is thinking that all kids are like white kids. That is all.

Yogurt is lactose-free. I'm lactose intolerant, so I thought I'd toss that out there...

Oops. Thanks for the clarification. Not so much my point, though. I think I'll step out now, because what I am thinking seems to be pretty different than what I am managing to type and communicate.

daisy: you're absolutely right. East African, not North African -- my mind is a buzz today and I wasn't thinking clearly.

re: calling them "refugees," I guess I've long heard the children in our neighborhood referred to as refugees, by outreach organizations and other community groups who have spoken at neighborhood meetings and school functions, so this is why I used that word. It hadn't occurred to me that it might an uncomfortable association -- I can see how it might be stigmatizing in Africa, but in our community, I have always heard it voiced as a proxy for compassion. is this something your children have expressed to you? if so, I'll surely re-examine my language.

I don't think my original post did, however, make the assumption that all kids can eat yogurt. perhaps the comment from the cafeteria worker could be construed as such; but it's ALL the kids who are leaving it behind.

zumpie: it's funny; I've often wished Truman *didn't* like the breakfast! it's so very similar to what I make at home -- except I know where the stuff I make at home comes from. I don't mind at all that he likes lunch, though, when I have a deadline...

Sarah: since she likes art, drama and poetry, she'll fit in well in French cafes, lamenting the world, etc--in like 5 seconds or so in her mind (she thinks she's 25). Luckily no demands to drink coffee yet, but I'm sure it's coming.

She also thought your son in costume was adorable! :-)

Sarah, thanks for explaining. I think we've got at least two sleepy, addled brains between the two of us. And you definitely do not suggest everyone should eat yogurt.

I know a lot of East African immigrants, especially from Ethiopia, but also Somalia and Eritrea and Sudan. I don't think of any of them as refugees, though I suppose many of them are. Some of their kids were born here, though, and are native speakers of English.

My kids are from Ethiopia, which so many people from our generation associate with the terrible famine of the 80s (such that they are inclined to make jokes when they hear about an Ethiopian restaurant). So I tend to err on the side on showing the positive stuff--the delicious food, the amazingly old culture (oldest country in the world), the Christian history (first Christian country!), etc, just so as to remove lingering negative associations. But, my reaction has been far stronger than the original concern I had! Thanks for considering all this.

ah well, i think this is my final viewing of this site for a while. UM, you used to be really helpful but now the posts seem like the main intent is to "stir the pot" unnecessarily just to get any discussion going. and btw(not to jump on daisy's bandwagon, but she does have a point), why did you use the word "refugee" instead of "kids"? i mean, so what if they came from somewhere else, they're here now.
and besides the presumptious, ridiculous posts recently, i find that many posters are chomping at the bit to argue. blech. maybe i'll check back in a couple months or so.

I like yogurt. Yogurt and I go way back. Yogurt gets along nicely with my granola *and* my baked potato, but is totally cool with being flavored and frozen in a tube on occasion for my daughter. Yogurt told me the other day that it really doesn't have a preference for being eaten for breakfast, lunch or snack and will even show up for dinner if invited. Yogurt's feelings don't get hurt if you don't like it. It has lots of friends and understands that not everybody will be down with it. Yogurt sometimes gets upset about having a bad reputation, since it's totally fine with being sugar-free or sweetened at home with honey or maple syrup or fruit and after all, *it* never asked to be pink or blue or purple. Yogurt also wants you to know that it loves people all over the world and loves being mixed with cucumbers and garlic and spices, and made into cheese. Yogurt also wanted to say that its friends, coconut yogurt and soy yogurt are really nice too and they're especially fond of vegans.

@ema - thank you! That was great.

ema: that's lovely. my yogurt prefers granola and honey in the morning, but shows up for dinner on taco night and when I make Indian-flavored food.

one/commenters: again, I used the word 'refugee' without anything other than experience having heard the children at both Grout and Cleveland referred to that way by representatives from community and outreach groups. I feel a lot of compassion for these kids, as I have read a lot about the difficult situations in East Africa that lead to the emigration of large groups of families. a close friend did a several-month photo project in southern Sudan about a decade ago, and it made a huge impact on me. I changed the word to "children." I had no desire to stir any pots. I was just wondering, why do people in this school not like yogurt for breakfast? I love yogurt for breakfast and so do my kids! that was the beginning and end of my agenda here. but you're not reading this, so oh well.

Daisy: that's got to be hard; I do remember our generation's grade school experience of Ethiopia as a place of famine, but luckily have been influenced by my aforementioned friend, an investment banking colleague who I had a crush on ages ago, and some cross country athletes who are Ethiopian to see it in another light. I also think the food is amazing.

One of the regular commenters, I find the honest dialogue a great thing and I appreciate this forum for providing the opportunity. Sweeping stuff umder the carpet doesn't move us forward.

daisy, no worries. This town can be a very difficult place to raise Latino kids and it really depresses me at times.

I like yogurt for breakfast occasionally but it gives me heart burn? Not sure why, I like it but even when I bring it to work I don't eat it. Probably why. My 4 year old son however loves the stuff, eats it quite often for breakfast.

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