A mom in Canada said she was surprised that her children were sent home from day care with a note saying the lunch she’d packed for them was unbalanced.

Kristen Bartkiw said she’d packed homemade roast beef, potatoes and carrots for her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, along with an orange and some milk.

But day care providers gave them Ritz Crackers and charged her a $10 fine because the lunch lacked grain required under Manitoba’s school lunch policy.

“They have certain legislation that they have in place where you have to follow these food groups, but it doesn’t matter how processed the foods are or if they’re junk food,” Bartkiw said.

Bartkiw said she called the day care provider and discussed the policy, and she said the $10 fine was revoked.

The province requires schools to provide a nutritious meal as outlined in the Canada Food Guide, but Bartkiw said that guide can be too broadly interpreted.

“You could send microwave Kraft Dinner everyday and that would count as a grain under the guide,” she said. “I would encourage parents to not just blindly follow the Canada Food Guide, but really think about eating more real food and not packaged food.”

Since that incident in December, which was publicized Monday in a post on the Weighty Matters blog, Bartkiw said the day care now serves hot lunches to children whose parents fail to pack a balanced lunch.

Bartkiw said she’s been pleased with the program so far.

[Image: 'Elementary Pupils Enjoying Healthy Lunch In Cafeteria' via Shutterstock]