to think even Gove wouldn''t ban packed lunches

(433 Posts)
kim147 Fri 12-Jul-13 07:30:29

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23270715

Granted I have seen some crap packed lunches in some schools. But to ban packed lunches?

Unless they were considerably cheaper, I can't see how they can do this. And as a teacher, I don't want to police lunch boxes.

snoworneahva Mon 15-Jul-13 21:22:37

Most kids who are fed well can cope with a poorly cooked school dinner, it's the kids on free school meals who are being let down and the parents who mistakenly believe that the school are giving their kids a decent main meal at lunch time and so put less into the evening meal. I have no doubt there are some schools who have good quality school dinners but there are loads who don't and parents rarely see what their kids really get put in front of them on a daily basis.

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Mon 15-Jul-13 22:01:29

If school dinners were of a better quality and less carby/starchy or sausage based I would happily pay for DD2 to have them. Until then I'll keep sending her to school with various wraps/wholemeal rolls, fruit and granola bars

However I'm in the fortunate position that I can afford to (at the moment) and not everyone can. And many fall into that vast category where they don't qualify for free meals but paying for compulsory school dinners would be nigh on impossible, then what?. We don't live in a dictatorship and this could surely never pass the lawmakers.

Debs75 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:06:08

My two younger dc's are just about to start school and there the meals are £1 a day which seems a bargain but they are full of stodgy comfort food. Nice food which reminds me of my primary days almost 30 years ago. The trouble is it is a lot of processed food and not what my girls are used to in the middle of the day. Again all the different options are usually eaten up by the time you get in on the 2nd/3rd sitting.
The school is part of the health packed lunch initiative and chocolates and fizzy drinks are banned along with crisps unless it is Friday.

They will go in with a packed lunch of a wrap with egg/tuna/cheese/ham and salad. or pasta. Veggie sticks, fruit and a drink. I know from experience with the older two that anything more than that won't get eaten. They have quite an appetite so may want more but will wait and see what will happen.

Banning packed lunches outright is a bad idea. Parents have little money as it is and paying for a lunch your children don't want to eat or which is not enough is just like another tax we can't afford.

I just thought I'd add that there are no packed lunch rules, and have not been given any guidance re:packed lunches at all at the school DD will be going to. Very intrigued to hear from DD what other kids take in with no rules!

Hers will be healthy.

I do find it a bit mad that report writers don't seem to click that parents won't like the idea of spending £2 on a meal of which 30p goes on the actual food, versus spending £2 (or £1 or 50p if that's all they can afford) on actual food for their child.

surely obvious why people on tight budgets love packed lunches!

Well quite. If he's getting 30p of food, I want it to cost 30p, not £2.10...

duchesse Mon 15-Jul-13 22:58:24

I think children should be given £2.10's worth of food for their £2.10, and the kitchen staff should be paid from another budget. I think it's shameful, utterly shameful that 30p is considered an acceptable amount. The reason the takeup in France is so high is that it's usually very good- balanced and plentiful.

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 23:04:39

the kitchen staff should be paid from another budget
so what else would you cut in the school to pay for it?
or are you happy for taxes to go up to pay for it?

French taxes and government spending are significantly higher than in the UK and their economy will hit the buffers within a year

my kids have packed lunch
because supper is the main meal of the day

the report is a load of marketing bilge written by the directors of a company who want a cut of the schools budget

Blu Mon 15-Jul-13 23:07:31

ZingWidge Sorry, I was so indignant at this latest Govery that my maths went astray. 21 meals a week. so school dinners represent 5 / 21 meals. (plus healthy snacks, of course wink

I realise that food doesn't magic itself from the freezer fridge to the plastic tray plate without human intervention, but if I make it then it costs us 0p rather than £1.80.

Travelledtheworld Mon 15-Jul-13 23:37:12

My teenagers both take packed lunches. They are too busy with lunchtime activities to stand in a queue at the cafeteria for up to 30 mins to get served. DS has a massive appetite and says school lunches aren't big enough to fill him up.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 16-Jul-13 08:30:45

I currently pay £5.80 3 days a week for my son to eat at nursery (breakfast, lunch and tea). He comes home hungry and I could feed him very well at a fraction of this cost.
ds goes to school next year and I won't be happy if I have to pay to feed him there. School food is generally poor quality and lacks variety. I would rather send him with a healthy lunch of sandwiches, fruit and yogurt (costs about 80p) and feed him a good cooked meal when he gets home.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 16-Jul-13 08:35:10

I don't see how they can enforce this. It wouldn;t be legal. I'd have them in court I honestly would. Because I simply won't feed my children processed food.

JackieBigTits Tue 16-Jul-13 10:07:16

DS is only 2 and quite fussy, won't eat Nursery lunches so I send him with a packed lunch. (ALL the other kids eat the food provided.) They have a notice on the front door that says (I think more for the older ones really...) "Please don't put crisps, chocolate and unhealthy snacks in your child's packed lunch!"

I thought it was a bit Big Brother frankly although I get they want to promote healthy eating, but it's certainly a better option than banning packed lunches entirely!

Dread to think what DS would be like if he HAD to eat anything wet (soup/curry/etc), pasta based, potato based etc. When he failed to eat the dinners in the 2 weeks I tried for, the nursery ladies made him a sandwich but I doubt a school would have the time or inclination to bother!

Emilythornesbff Tue 16-Jul-13 11:51:38

There's a lot of shit spouted about "healthy eating" which demonstrates that a lot of people have quite a limited knowledge about food really.
The demonisation of the fruit shoot (bottle of squash really, do calm down) is an example.
Also there's less salt in a bag of crisps than in the bread of a sandwich.

I agree with naomilpeb and I think it's a cheap and clumsy attempt to "address" the health of the nation.

If school meals were better (maybe by starting with being edible and free from condemned meat or horse meat) then I'd be less offended. But I still think it's unreasonable to ban packed lunches. (especially mine, which would be fabulous).

I'd rather they use the carrot than the carrot stick grin

Make school dinners free for all and improve the quality as an investment in children's and next generation's health (will probably recoup the money down the line with improved health and lower levels of obesity - if meals are genuinely more healthy)

I think they'd find that better affordability is a major factor, in addition to the quality of the meals.

MadeOfStarDust Tue 16-Jul-13 13:45:40

but we CHOOSE to do packed lunch, because we all eat a hot meal together in the evening.

If school dinners were compulsory and of sufficient quality and quantity, it would be me and hubby eating hot food and the kids eating "packed tea", or a lot less of what we were eating.

Well StarDust (nice name !) we all have a simple hot meal together in the evening too (often baked potatoes, pasta etc.), but I still think it's good for them to have a proper meal at lunch time as well.

I don't think a sandwich, crisps, and chocolate bar is ideal for children's lunches (which as I've worked in schools seems to be typical content of packed lunches)
There is a growing problem with children's diets (and subsequent well-being) in this country.

A healthy packed lunch is possible I'm sure, but in my experience not that common.

juule Tue 16-Jul-13 15:01:19

"I don't think a sandwich, crisps, and chocolate bar is ideal for children's lunches"

This^ plus an apple (or other fruit) and a drink is pretty much what my children took as a packed lunch most days. The older ones are now adults and are not obese or unhealthy and most eat a varied diet. So I do wonder what else is going as I don't consider my children to be exceptional regarding diet.

I would also add that some days in primary school they didn't eat their packed lunch until hometime. And once a secondary school they just skipped lunch all together some days

puzzling.

Well, I think activity levels have a lot to do with it as well juule

And this is generally considered a bit left field but my DCs benefitted from extended breastfeeding which I think (and research shows) would have got them off to a good start, and help with developing regulation of their appetites, through demand feeding.

MadeOfStarDust Tue 16-Jul-13 15:45:15

It is a bit of a generalisation- sandwich, crisps and chocolate bar -

mine usually have one of chicken/beef/tuna/salmon/egg and salad in a wrap, pot of grapes or pineapple and a biscuit/fairy cake for lunch, with water and sometimes a carton of apple juice and a piece of cheese..

Plenty of people prepare a nice healthy packed lunch (certainly healthier than our school's dinners). I used to be a MDS and saw probably half and half...

I've been a MDS too (as well as a TA and teacher) and have seen more children's packed lunches than you've had hot dinners grin
(sorry, couldn't resist !)

You're packed lunches sound lovely - especially the wraps and pots of pineapple.

But I still think for most children it's healthier to have a school dinner - and I admit easier for Mums as well. Just a real shame it's so expensive for families, should be much cheaper to give everyone a true choice of what works best for them and their DC.

prettybird Tue 16-Jul-13 16:32:43

Whatever happened to the advice that is given when you have fussy toddlers to look at what they eat not just over a day but over a whole week before you start worrying? confused

sheeplikessleep Tue 16-Jul-13 16:40:09

DS1 has a sandwich, some cucumber / carrot sticks, babybel, piece of fruit and a yoghurt or rice pudding.

I fail to see how that can be less healthy than the pizzas/chips/frozen fish/'fake' roasts that get served up at school.

If they genuinely can improve the school dinners to provide a balanced, nutritious meal, cooked from scratch on the premises, I would definitely opt for them and would pay more than the current £2 price tag.

Goodasgoldilox Tue 16-Jul-13 16:49:15

I foster children and send each one in with a packed lunch because it is a little bit of home they can carry about with them. It is personal to them in a place that can seem a bit impersonal at times. I can write messages on the bananas - or include a favourite treat. Extending variety in the diet is always tricky - we enjoyed having 'experiment of the day' - a foil wrapped surprise taste of a new food. This can be discussed (with awe and horror) on return from school and makes a fun shared experience for foster siblings at different schools

Sorry ... your packed lunches (I do know really !)

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