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If your child doesn't like any of the menu choices at school what would you expect to happen?

(133 Posts)
Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 13:37:39

At our school, menus are on 3 weekly basis and sent home at the start of each term. Each day children get to choose either a main meal (roast dinner today) or a Jacket spud or filled baguette (jacket today)

Some parents discuss the menus with their DC and they only have dinners on certain days others have them everyday regardless.

If you child was having dinner today but on being asked for his choice at registration said he couldn't eat either, what would you expect to happen?

DaddyPigsMistress Wed 22-Jan-14 13:38:45

Parents to provide a packed lunch

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 13:40:02

Em, I would have expected the parent to realise beforehand from looking at the menu and sent a packed lunch instead? Are neither of the options possible? How about a plain baked potato with veg from the main, plus the dessert? I think for one day no-one will starve on that.

MummyPig24 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:40:37

I tell ds what is for school dinner, if he doesn't want or like the options available then I send him with a packed lunch. Which is what I expect most parents would do.

owlbegoing Wed 22-Jan-14 13:40:40

A phonecall home for you to bring up a packed lunch?

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 13:40:47

Child is already in school and parents at work when he realises he doesn't like today's offerings?

mrscog Wed 22-Jan-14 13:41:16

Under 7/8 a phone call to parent to provide something, Y5 onwards - tough - if the menus are sent home then there shouldn't really be any surprises.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 13:42:16

What Daddy said.

When he said he 'can't' does that mean he genuinely can't, or doesn't fancy either choice? If the parents haven't seen in a packed lunch I would tell him to pick the option he thinks he might manage.

ShadowOfTheDay Wed 22-Jan-14 13:42:21

would expect him to choose and eat what they could... even if only the jacket potato without filling... they knew the menu in advance ...

OhBuggerandArse Wed 22-Jan-14 13:42:28

How old is child? If past 6 should stop fussing and eat what is available.

OddBoots Wed 22-Jan-14 13:42:29

I'd expect my child to eat a plain jacket if she didn't like the main meal or the jacket filling.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 22-Jan-14 13:43:23

Couldn't? As in physically couldn't due to allergies or something? Or couldn't as in doesn't like it?

If the former, I would expect school to provide an appropriate meal, if the latter, I would expect that the parent was on top of the menu and knew what was on offer at any given time and had made alternative arrangements and if for any reason that hadn't happened, that the child would choose the option that allowed them to have at least something, even if just part of the meal. or that they just have bread and fruit or something.

Kemmo Wed 22-Jan-14 13:43:31

I'd expect Ds to choose the option he hated least and make do.
I'd expect school to suggest leaving off any particularly offending item.

Olbasoil Wed 22-Jan-14 13:43:54

providing there wasn't a medical reason then I would expect my child to make the best of it.

Parliamo Wed 22-Jan-14 13:44:13

Couldn't eat is different to doesn't like. Your post is a bit confusing tbh. And how old? A miserable 4 yo is a bit different to fussy year 6. I fail to see how there wouldn't be something to eat, even if only the side of potatoes or bread or pasta. Either way, not much unless it was an allergy problem school already knew about and had a plan to accommodate it.

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 13:44:33

If there is a chance that your child is not going to like either of the offerings on a particular day, I think it's even more important that you check the menu beforehand at home. OP, what would you expect to happen?

Wow - he doesn't even like the "safe" jacket potato option?

I'm afraid if it were me, the DDs would be expected to suck it up and eat the school dinner.

If it happened in the school I work in, the parent would be told quite firmly that we cater for food allergies, we cater for food intolerances, we cater for religous observances and we cater for vegetarians. We do not cater for picky eaters.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 22-Jan-14 13:44:42

I would expect them to eat parts of it definitely - there is always fruit and bread rolls available too.

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 13:44:59

Couldn't as in didn't want to.

Before I'm accused of a reverse, I should point out I'm not the parent - I work at the school

Boy is yr5

can't or won't? If allergy to that many things, call parents for back up.

If won't, well, tough for the kid. He can learn that not everybody accommodates fussy eating. And I say that as the parent of a fussy child!

Maybe give him some bread/fruit, but surely that is available anyway?

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 22-Jan-14 13:45:50

I assume the parent was mardying about it then? grin

kiwidreamer Wed 22-Jan-14 13:46:08

My DS doesn't like that many of the school dinner options so he only has them on Wednesdays for the Roast or Fridays for the Fish and Chips... he is now saying he doesn't like the Roast but I say there isn't anything wrong with the Roast (its not 'spicy' its not pasta, its not blah blah blah million other things he's not keen on) and if he's being really fussy he can eat the Baked Potato option on that day.

All other days he gets a packed lunch.

I have a friend whose son is in a posh school and they all do dinners every day regardless if child likes food or not as child is expected to conform. Not my preferred approach but I do expect DS to eat the meal on a Wednesday when I know there is nothing 'wrong' (by his normal standards) with it.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 13:46:18

Ds often doesn't like the meal on offer & school lunches are compulsory

What usually happens is that he gets some pasta, bread, cucumber & carrot sticks from the salad bar or sometimes he'll have rice & vegetables.

I spoke to school because the dinner ladies went through a stage if not allowing him plain pasta or rice if he didn't have the accompanying meat/sauce. Now they let him mix. & match. They usually have crackers & cheese out too do sometimes hell make himself a dsirylea roll.

stargirl1701 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:46:36

I would expect the parent to sort this out before school and provide a packed lunch.

It appears this hasn't happened so the child would be offered bread, salad and anything from the meal they would eat - a plain baked potato, etc.

MaddAddam Wed 22-Jan-14 13:46:44

Child can eat the plain potato. My dd3 has often eaten a plain jacket potato for school lunch (with salad and pudding). She doesn't eat meat or fish and used not to like cheese much.

I would not expect to be dragged away from work to provide a packed lunch.

thegreylady Wed 22-Jan-14 13:47:40

Tell him to pick out what he can eat and fill up with bread and maybe a banana if available. He knew in advance what was available it is an attempt to be manipulative-he is Yr5 not age5.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 13:48:02

He is ASD & his fussiness seems to be a Colour/texture thing.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 22-Jan-14 13:48:41

I wouldn't be faffing around checking the school menu and providing a packed lunch if DD didn't like either option! What's offensive about a jacket potato/baguette with choice of filling? confused If I was paying for school dinners I'd be expecting DD to eat them, in much the same way that I eat meals I don't like on occasion.

perfectstorm Wed 22-Jan-14 13:49:02

I'd expect him to be put down for the potato or baguette and that to be it, at the age of 10.

Kids are allowed to be way too picky IMO. I've made that mistake with my son, and now he's 5 I'm getting tougher. As long as I don't give him something I know he dislikes, he can eat it, or have plain brown bread and butter and an apple. We can't all have gourmet delights every day and in the absence of an allergy or a single choice that we hate, we eat it regardless. It's just life.

DD1 (age 6) would be expected to choose the least offensive option and eat that. As she has been expected to do from the start of YR. I most certainly would not be leaving work to get her a packed lunch as I work an hour away, and DH is often in London or in meetings and not available. They have a salad bar and bread, so she can have these if there is really nothing else she will eat.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 13:50:24

If it's a case of didn't want to then I would suggest he could manage the inside of a baked potato and some salad.

Are the parents kicking off? Was a member of staff supposed to nip to Tesco on their break and bring him something he did like? grin

elportodelgato Wed 22-Jan-14 13:50:31

Pfft I would expect DD to either make the best of what was on offer or go hungry. Same as she does at home.

What actally happened OP?

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 22-Jan-14 13:51:21

So go on, OP, what did child/parent do that's making you post? grin

WooWooOwl Wed 22-Jan-14 13:51:32

If to child was point blank refusing to eat either option, then I'd expect a phonecall to the parents to let them know, and to tell us what to put him down for.

Then I would expect the child to either eat it, or if they didn't to at least eat some bread and a pudding.

Are you going to tell us what actually did happen?

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 13:52:35

Thanks all

My response was that he'd have to do his best to eat one or the other but I was told that I was "out of order" by my boss and what actually happened was the kitchen made him an alternative.

He wouldn't eat the jacket because he doesn't like potato.

Parents were never involved

notso Wed 22-Jan-14 13:52:38

Can't eat as in allergies I would expect the parent to be contacted.
Can't eat as in fussy, I would expect someone to give them a bit of coaxing to try one of the options.

He'd have to choose if it was me. At yr5 that kind of fussiness is unacceptable IMO.

Katnisscupcake Wed 22-Jan-14 13:53:51

I believe we probably have the same thing (and actually the same options today as your DC has so I wonder if it's the same Council that we're under wink), but I made DD try all of the food for the first term (she started in Reception in September) and talked through the options with her.

She doesn't like Pizza so Thursdays (always a pizza option) are no good, plus Tuesdays. So now she takes a packed lunch on Tuesdays/Thursdays and school dinners every other day.

We printed out the menu, laminated it and then marked on the menu, crossing out the days where DD wanted packed lunch and stuck it up in the kitchen.

However, the menu will change after Feb half-term so I'm hoping that she will like everything because come September when she will get a year of school dinners for free, she's definitely having them!!

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 13:54:14

Totally down to the parents and child. I wouldn't even expect a call to be honest. If this is discovered at registration it presumably requires a note from the teacher to be passed to the office and for someone there to call the parents, amongst the million and one other things which need to be done. What exactly does the parent expect to happen? Our school dinners are provided by an external company, they bring the food for that day, not a random selection of extras for people who might or might not want to eat what is on offer. Margins are so tight there just isn't budget for options which might not even be used. I suppose parent now demanding a meeting with HT??

frugalfuzzpig Wed 22-Jan-14 13:54:49

I would probably say tough luck, just eat what you can

HesterShaw Wed 22-Jan-14 13:55:02

Can't or won't?

If the latter, I would expect them to either it eat or go hungry. Sorry.

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 13:55:48

Just read your update. So what is your boss going to do tomorrow when three people decide that they rather fancy with Mr Fussy Yr5 had yesterday? Or the following day, when 10 people decide they don't fancy what is on offer and would like to choose off-menu?

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 13:55:51

You were definitely not "out of order" (very unprofessional language btw, he/she needs to have a rethink about how they speak to their colleagues) - talk about setting a precedent and opening the flood gates for all future 'can't eats'. Silly boss.

Rooble Wed 22-Jan-14 13:56:31

Actually if he's ASD then I can see there's an element of "can't" about it. But in your boss's place, I would have spoken to the parents and asked them to check the menu in future and make sure they provide a packed lunch on the days he can't eat any of the options.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 22-Jan-14 13:56:37

Well, more fool them then.

And how many kids are in the school? When tomorrow 3 of them refuse what's on offer because they saw today? And on Friday 10 do?

Exactly how many different meals will be made to cater for the fussy buggers?

And this kid now is going to expect this every time he doesn't fancy what's on offer?

your boss is a prat.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:05

What SirChenjin said!

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:10

Gosh, I wasn't expecting that! How on earth is that out of order? I'm surprised that your boss/the kitchen actually made a different option. They're not a restaurant.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:14

Domus - my ds would have kicked off (meltdown)at being told he'd have to eat one or the other He wouldn't have been able to process the difference between having to have a whole meal package & being able to just have done bits of it (incidentally he has stopped eating potato too)

The kitchen have on occasion made him a sandwich however I don't expect that as long as he is allowed bread & a pudding.

But the children at his school choose what they are eating when they get to the front of the queue.

ivykaty44 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:19

If dd didn't want either options then I would be cross with her for being so fussy, and tell her that food for lunch is for fuel not the last meal she is going to eat and get on with it

I certainly wouldn't have simpathy if she missed lunch and went hungry.

If I didn't like lunch, and we didn't get a choice, then I would just eat what I could and try to get a small portion dished up.

I wouldn't have told mum as it would cause trouble

I did though ask for pack IPS on Fridays as this was fish pie day and I didn't like fish pie, she was fine with that. Generally the other days we never knew what was on the menu

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:20

oh my GOD unexpected. How weird is THAT X-post! grin

Madasabox Wed 22-Jan-14 13:58:36

I think unless the child has allergies then they should eat what they are given and fussiness should not be catered for. If they don't want to eat then they should go hungry - their choice

Kewcumber Wed 22-Jan-14 13:58:39

In year 5 I would expect him to be able to find something he can eat - bread, veg, cheese, topping for potato with bread etc

And it won't kill him to have a cobbled together lunch or to skip it for one day.

If he's always this fussy then he needs packed lunches.

Our menus are published beginnig of term. Can't imagine our chef cooking something differnt for one child - where does that end!

Beastofburden Wed 22-Jan-14 13:58:59

Blimey, that is not very sensible. The child is learning a very poor lesson. And the parents might well be very irritated that the school is undermining all they are doing to get the child to stop being so damn picky at home.

In My Day school dinners were supposed to be disgusting. It was character forming. The idea that you were supposed to enjoy them... <shakes head>

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 13:59:32

ISeeYou great minds and all that .....! grin

Gladvent Wed 22-Jan-14 14:00:23

For my DC I tell them 'You get what you're given and be thankful'

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 14:00:41

they made him something different. WOW, that's mad, what happens when they get a whole string of them who decide they "don't like" the options available in the hope they might get offered something nicer.

Unless there are allergies and the school has a duty to provide appropriate tailor made FSM , then the child takes their own lunch, eats what's available on the menu, or does not eat and goes home hungry.

PeterParkerSays Wed 22-Jan-14 14:02:37

Does the head want to come and work at DS's school, where they only have a serving kitchen so serve food cooked at a nearby school, so there is no option to whip up an alternative. Any bets on whether your boss has children of his own, if they think you'll start whipping up meals on demand?

BitOutOfPractice Wed 22-Jan-14 14:04:27

I'd expect him to eat one or the other or go hungry.

Your boss is being rather short sighted here

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 14:05:54

TBF it was only a sandwich they made but I really thought I'd made the right call in the first place.

It's what I would have expected my own fussy DS to be told. The worst case would be that he survived the day on just his break-time fruit and the pudding which is hardy the end of the world IMO

millefleur Wed 22-Jan-14 14:06:22

who said you were out of order?? The head teacher???

that's ridiculous

i find it hard to believe parents check menu everyday and discuss whether their children want it or packed lunch. Made ne get school dinners. Some days they don't like it/wont eat it...tough titties

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:06:23

The problem with the going hungry thing is that dd loses concentration & feels nauseous if he doesn't eat. Before I sorted the lunch issue out with school afternoons were a huge problem.

It's not always black & white.

frugalfuzzpig Wed 22-Jan-14 14:06:49

The saying "I can't eat this" (when it's dislike rather than allergy) really bugs me for some reason, it's really whiney.

Madasabox Wed 22-Jan-14 14:07:01

My DCs are 5 and 2 and they eat what they are given and stay at the table until I decide they have eaten enough even if that takes an hour (and it frequently does)
I would be seriously annoyed if my DC's school did this

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 22-Jan-14 14:07:21

You were not "out of order" IMHO. You provided a choice of lunch - either he tries to eat one or goes hungry.

If the child has ASD, then his parents should be checking the menu thoroughly on a daily/weekly basis and making sure that an emergency packed lunch is provided on those days.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:07:30

You've obviously never been food phobic then frugal.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:07:41

How will your boss or the kitchen manage making up sandwiches if 10-20 kids a day decide they don't want to eat what's on the menu though?

frugalfuzzpig Wed 22-Jan-14 14:07:49

(Unless there's a food phobia involved but this seems irrelevant in this case)

bonkersLFDT20 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:08:06

I suppose since the school are in loco parentis then they have a duty to make sure the child has a meal during the day.

Whether the child or the parent are at fault was neither here nor there at lunch time.

So, I think your boss is right. However, I would want the class teacher to make the parents aware of what happened so as to avoid it happening in the future.

And clearly if this sort of thing becomes more common then YOU are in your rights to say you are being to made outside of your agreed contract (maybe...).

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 22-Jan-14 14:08:11

Sorry, that should say "on those days when there is nothing he will eat available".

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:08:20

Suppose the menus arnt available/ packed lunches are not an option?

Madasabox Wed 22-Jan-14 14:08:23

I don't think people used to have all these problems. It's amazing how many children are allowed to dictate things these days. Storing up problems for the future really

frugalfuzzpig Wed 22-Jan-14 14:09:08

X post - yes I do know what phobias are like believe me (I have OCD and being assessed for ASD) but I meant that this particular instance didn't seem like it as presumably the parents would have looked at the menu

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:09:44

Agree Madasabox. In my day <old gimmer of 44> you ate what you were given - we didn't have nearly the same numbers of kids "not liking" stuff.

perfectstorm Wed 22-Jan-14 14:10:05

Well, as a parent if I learned the head had done that I, in turn, would have thought they were out of order.

My kids are the best in the world, naturally, but they need to learn that the world does not revolve around them. Pandering to fussiness in a 10 year old instead of telling them to cobble together what they could doesn't achieve that. That isn't earth logic s/he's teaching, it is "I am a unique snowflake" logic.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:11:38

I'm a fussy eater. It stops me going out for meals out, stopped me going on school trips etcetc. I think the initial cause was a restricted diet as a young child due to a medical problem I had.

Dd eats anything & everything

Ds has ASD & also didn't learn to chew as a baby as his first tooth only appeared at 14 months.

It's not always simple b

thenicknameiwantedisgone Wed 22-Jan-14 14:13:58

Domus - I agree with you and think you made the right call.

If yr5 DS didn't like it then tough. To be honest whether he takes packed lunch or has school dinner depends on whether I have the time and food to make packed lunches. I don't discuss the menu, id it is a school dinner day he has something on offer whether it would be his choice or not.

Different case of course if there are allergies, but in your case and DS's case, there aren't so tough.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:14:31

No, it's not always 'that' simple, but I'm guessing that if the child had SEN/AD/food phobias/etc then the staff at the school would know about it and would make special arrangements for this child, and would have had cause to before now. Ergo - there are no mitigating factors, just a fussy kid who needs to learn to eat what is put in front of him.

bigTillyMint Wed 22-Jan-14 14:16:10

Wow! What an accommodating school dinners service your school runs!

If I had DC who would only eat certain things, I would make them a packed lunch.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:18:34

With ds although he is in year 5 he is only just now starting to get assessed so we didn't know why he was like this. - info on this isn't passed on to dinner ladies

frugalfuzzpig Wed 22-Jan-14 14:18:52

That's the impression I got too chenjin. I may be wrong as I've not had to deal with this in my own DCs (it's me with the anxiety/phobia issues) but I would've thought if there were serious food issues the parents would've already looked at the menu and arranged an alternative

(Assuming packed lunches are an option at this school)

cakesonatrain Wed 22-Jan-14 14:19:59

Well if the school was in loco this parentis, I would want them to say "These are your options for dinner; eat some of it or be hungry".

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 14:21:54

Absolutely SirC there are a handful of children with allergies or SEN where "trouble" over food is likely to trigger and they would be treated according to their need.

Pictures - it should be, if you're taking to the school about it.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:21:55

If he's only just started to be assessed the presumably you've informed the school in case there are issues? It's not up to the school to second guess.

FuckingWankwings Wed 22-Jan-14 14:22:23

Unless he had genuine issues, I'd have expected the school to try to get him to eat a bit of something. I think your boss was out of order saying you were out of order! I can't imagine the catering staff would be chuffed at having to make a last-minute alternative lunch either, just because a child was fussy and/or because the issues/dislike hadn't been flagged by the parents in advance.

WooWooOwl Wed 22-Jan-14 14:23:55

What does the school do when a child is given a meal they have chosen and then they say they don't like it?

I've had that happen a few times at our school, and we make them eat as much as they can, but on more than one occasion a child has had to go for the rest of the day without eating much.

We can't magic extra food out of nowhere, not can we force feed a child.

And oddly enough, no child has ever come to any actual harm. They might have been a bit hungry on leaving school, but it didn't kill them.

AwfulMaureen Wed 22-Jan-14 14:24:08

I'd be most annoyed. If my child decided they did not want their pre approved choice on the day then that's bloody tough! Eat it or don;t.

Zingy123 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:24:17

The cook makes them a ham/cheese/egg batch instead.

AwfulMaureen Wed 22-Jan-14 14:24:32

I mean really..talk about coddling! I'd be annoyed if School called me over that!

Blu Wed 22-Jan-14 14:26:59

Yr 5 and 'wouldn't'?
Make the best of it. Eat the slice of bread and the fruit and the pudding.

I am amazed that anyone thinks it reasonable for teachers to be phoning home for a packed lunch. Apart from anything else, how easy that makes it for a child to decide to call for a packed lunch on a whim!

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 22-Jan-14 14:29:05

I had a problem that on one particular day my DD doesn't like either the usual or vegetarian options available.I am a firm believer in school dinners and it took me a long long time to agree to a packed lunch for her on that day,and it was with great reluctance.
The thing is that both meals had a processed food item and chips,and there just wasn't enough bread/fruit etc options available on a regular basis to provide her with enough food for a meal.
My DD doesn't like chips and doesn't eat much processed food,so I really didn't want to be insisting that she change her tastes so she likes chips and processed food.
While I understand that the food needs to be palatable to the majority of kids,and there are cost factors involved,I would have loved to have been offered a way to keep her in school dinners that day.
I would love to see more simple alternatives offered,even if just the vegetables/salad,bread and egg or cheese.

JennyOnAPlate Wed 22-Jan-14 14:30:11

I would be perfectly happy for school to tell my 6yo to either pick something or go hungry in this situation.

Your boss was ridiculous imo.

perfectstorm Wed 22-Jan-14 14:30:49

If there was a genuine issue then obviously the school needs to make reasonable adjustments and the head would be right. But... the OP would then presumably know about it, too. And the parents would be providing packed lunches on necessary days.

A child at DS' school has serious allergies. Her mum categorically refused to have everyone else's lunch options restricted. It's a packed-lunch only school, so the kids in her class have all been trained to say if they have humous, kiwi, eggs, and a few other things, so the staff can ensure table separation, and careful hygiene. They offered to institute an absolute ban for her in that class, apparently, but her mum said she had to live in the world with everyone else, she had to learn (with support) how to protect her own health from everyday foods in the environment... and anyway, why should other kids miss out?

I admire that mother so much.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:31:13

That's where an always available salad bar is really good

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 14:33:04

Hmm we tried the salad bar thing. It was getting thrown away everyday - staff were the only people vaguely interested and then not much!

NCISaddict Wed 22-Jan-14 14:35:55

My children had to have school dinners at that age(school rules) so there was no issue, strangely enough the whole school survived. The only choices were for allergies/religious reasons/vegetarians.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:36:01

Our primary schools offer 3 trays - a 'big' lunch, a snack type thing (baked potatos, pizza and salad, etc) and a sandwich option.

TeeBee Wed 22-Jan-14 14:36:03

Did your boss not consider that maybe the parents had put the child on school lunches to try and expand the range of food that child will try. If offered only his favourites, my DS will only eat that. However, where there is little choice he will often plump for something then sometimes adds that to his list of 'likeable foods'. As the mother of a fussy eater I would not expect anyone to prepare a special menu item for my child.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 14:36:56

potatoes

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 14:40:43

If I was the parent of the child in question, and was trying to get the child to be more adventurous with their eating, I would not thank the school for saying "aw, it's ok, have a sandwich instead" because then they would expect the same pandering to at home. I also think if I'd paid for a hot dinner I should not get a sandwich. I'd rather they ate some of something off the menu, to encourage good habits/trying lots of things, even if they left most and came home hungry.

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 22-Jan-14 14:41:44

perfect I sometimes struggle with the allergy issue.
I know I sound a PITA grin but my DD loves nuts and isn't allowed them in her packed lunch because of other children with allergies.However, she has a lot of problems with her teeth ( 'soft enamel') and I have to be careful about the amount of sugar she has.Being able to send a handful of almonds in would be a nice option for her,and while I do understand that there is good reason for the nut ban,I am a little infuriated because every 5 minutes she's coming home with sweets from school !

DeWe Wed 22-Jan-14 14:41:45

Couldn't as in allergies: school should provide something.

Wouldn't as in don't like: tough cheese, child has to make do. Although for an infant aged child, it would be nice if the teacher spoke quietly to the parent and asked if a packed lunch could be done when that was the option.

RufusTheReindeer Wed 22-Jan-14 14:44:36

Our school wouldn't do that, allergies are obviously taken into account but the child would have to pick something and do their best

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 14:47:17

the salad bar thing is an interesting one - at my DS primary it is really popular (very middle class competitive parents type school in fairly affluent area) - but at my friends school (headteacher), they cant get the kids to touch it - probably because most of the kids there are not used to eating those options or seeing their adults at home eat them. It is in a very poor social area with lots of associated problems. I am not saying all low income families eat crap food, but there may well be a link to kids just refusing to try alien foods. especially when they know if they go home hungry they will get fed sweets and crisps. many of them don't even eat the free fruit at break time.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 14:56:46

Ds doesn't eat salad as such, but the salad bar usually has things like cold pasta, bread, spreading cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot sticks etc

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 15:09:36

I'm presuming that's not a self-service salad bar - with several hundred pupils?

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 15:14:54

It is self service (ds is home ill today so I just asked him)

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 15:20:17

How do they keep several hundred pupils moving past a self service salad bar with numerous bits and pieces to choose from?

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 15:28:35

Don't know. They have them in secondary schools too which are bigger plus there's the added complication if having to pay/fingerprint/ whatever

Dd is at secondary & lives the salad & wrap bars.

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 15:31:33

Hmm - interesting. Neither of the (large) primary and secondary schools my DCs attend have them. I wonder if they are number-dependent, or perhaps the salads are ready-potted? I know that the lunch queues are enormous at the High School the elder 2 attend, and that's for a basic lunch tray thing.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 22-Jan-14 15:34:34

Ds & dd both day they can pick what they want. Dd sometimes gets tuna from the salad bar then gets a jacket potato or some pasta with it or some soup & a wrap.

Dh teaches at her school & the meals are so nice he eats there most days

RoganJosh Wed 22-Jan-14 15:42:38

I think it depends on the day what other bits there are that could be eaten. If it's a substantial pudding and there is an option for bread on the side then I'd expect them to make the best of it.
If the pudding was fruit salad and he really hated all of the main coarse then it's a bit different. Still really and the parents' issue for not spotting it though.

RoganJosh Wed 22-Jan-14 15:43:01

Course

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 15:48:52

Can you imagine the number of fingers that will have been in a self-service salad bar at a school....?

lilyaldrin Wed 22-Jan-14 15:49:43

Most nurseries only provide one choice and the children either eat it or don't. If a 3 year old can manage I'd expect a 10 year old to.

DS has dinners one day at (nursery) school if he doesn't like the main course he just has pudding. And if he doesn't like either then he is hungry when he gets home!

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 15:55:14

Can you imagine the number of fingers that will have been in a self-service salad bar at a school....?

I'm trying not to grin. I think that the practicalities for a larger school would make this option invalid - and that's before you get into the whole hygiene and mess thing

CinnabarRed Wed 22-Jan-14 15:57:11

Lilyaldrin - same is true at both DS1's primary school and DS2's nursery. School-provided hot dinners only (no packed lunches allowed). There have been occasional (very occasional) days when one or other has come home hungry, but they have survived.

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 15:59:42

our primary school salad bar is self service with lots of pots of stuff including salad, pasta, coleslaw and grated cheese - mine all have packed lunches though!

our school does their own lunches, on site, all planned and costed etc in house . No county contractors and no rubbish, locally sourced where poss.

Oblomov Wed 22-Jan-14 16:02:41

I don't expect the school to do anything. At all.
If you have a fussy eater, you look At the menus when you get them.
If your child doesn't like a lot of the meals then dont have school dinners. Provide a packed lunch.

You must have known this was going to be an issue?

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 16:04:23

I would fight tooth and nail if our primary had tried to bring in compulsory school dinners. Assuming these were not free, who are they to dictate how much you will spend on your childs lunch? Also our main evening meal together as a family is important to us, and they do not need 2 dinners a day. I also like to monitor what they eat and with school dinners there is no knowing how much they have eaten so you can't tell if they have had their 5 a day etc.

DDs choice, because of severe dietary needs, would have been JP and beans almost every day - and only HALF a small JP at that. NO way am I paying £2.20 for that. She would not have been able to use the salad bar at all due to contamination.

phantomnamechanger Wed 22-Jan-14 16:05:52

Ob, read the thread and you will see that OP is school dinner staff NOT parent of fussy kid, you will also see she was overruled and the child was made a special alternative!

SirChenjin Wed 22-Jan-14 16:07:20

Who didn't RTFT Oblomov?! grin

vestandknickers Wed 22-Jan-14 16:07:57

Haven't read everything. But in Yr 5 he should be told to suck it up and eat whichever he likes better.

Domus Wed 22-Jan-14 16:08:56

Ours too phantom - the menu sounds lovely but "local" butchers sell rubbish sausages too. grin

The meal they had today was advertised as "local butcher's fresh gammon roast with roast potatoes, peas and carrots"

Which it is, in that it came from a catering butcher down the road and it is fresh (not frozen) but it's still reconstituted processed ham. The veg are tinned and the potatoes are bought in pre-prepared. Which is Ok, I suppose but I don't think it's what parents expect when they are told that everything is freshly cooked on the premises.

You mean "Everything is freshly re-heated on the premises" wink

Oblomov Wed 22-Jan-14 16:22:06

Sorry. I did see the post about it being a staff member. But it didn't quite register with me. And was already writing, directing my post as if it was a parent.
But I also missed the last half of the thread. Phone must have skipped a page it so. Bit wierd. Sorry.

AbbyLou Wed 22-Jan-14 17:59:47

At the school I work in there is no choice. Vegetarian meals have to be ore-ordered so a child is either a vegetarian every day or not. They don't get a choice and we don't prepare them ourselves as we have no kitchen. Most children eat what is there and if they don't like it they have salad, bread and pudding.

Saltire Wed 22-Jan-14 18:21:51

My Dses go to a secondary school with approx 1400 pupils. They don't have a salad bar but do have salad pots, and pasta pots. They also have a wide choice of sandwiches or wraps as well as the 2set" (£2.10) menu which comprises a main meal and a pudding.
Both my Dses have school dinners - excpet Ds2 on a wednesday when eh ahs science club, but DS2 all through primary school would not eat school dinners. At all!

NotCitrus Wed 22-Jan-14 18:37:35

At ds's school you have to always have pack lunch or always school dinners, can only swap at a new half term.
Ds is hugely fussy verging on food phobic, and eats a piece of bread and pudding for some meals, sometimes potato, sometimes gets jollied along and eats a meal. Expensive slices of bread but well worth it for 6 months so that I can give him familiar food when he's tired at night and he still encounters a varied diet.

Often he refuses to choose an option so he gets bread and a portion of the least 'mixed up' or 'wet' option given to him. If he was unhappy about it then we might have to reconsider but he's the healthiest kid ever and happy, so hopefully he'll grow out of it.

I'd be most miffed if anyone pandered to him being fussy over stuff he actually likes.

Onesiegoddess Wed 22-Jan-14 18:55:04

If that was my child I would have expected them to choose one or the other. I wouldn't want anyone pandering to fussy ness

NewNameforNewTerm Wed 22-Jan-14 19:02:25

I'm astounded! I assume there must be more to this than the HT has told OP? Surely...
So does every child that doesn't like the option have a separately prepared meal? Or just this one? I think the HT is setting a very dangerous president; do it for one and everyone will join in. Is it a school canteen or a cook/prepare to order restaurant?
It is different if the child has food allergies - then it is the school's responsibility to provide appropriate food and I would actually agree with HT if the child had a food specific SEN, but just because they didn't like it is crazy!

ScentedScandal Wed 22-Jan-14 19:08:01

Wow..shock in the not too distant future that child is going to be a secondary school and no-one gives a flying fart whether you've eaten or what you've eaten there.

TamerB Wed 22-Jan-14 19:08:20

Exactly, Onesiegoddess. When I was at school we couldn't take packed lunches and there was one set meal. Everyone ate it or they went home for lunch.
I would give them short shrift-'take it or go hungry' -the choice is theirs.

babySophieRose Wed 22-Jan-14 19:22:53

I know nothing about school meals, but when my LO started nursery she didn't eat any of the food there, but got used to it with time. Give it some time and see what happens, if the others eats it its not that bad.

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