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.

jrabean Tue 30-Jul-13 11:20:11

The big mistake the report makes is to attempt to win over millions of pack lunch parents by attacking them first! "only 1% of pack lunches meet the nutritional guidelines of school meals" ie you are all harming your kids!

The 1% figure is highly misleading. It is based on food actually eaten by the kids vs an idealised school menu. If you actually look at the nutritional composition of packed lunches eaten vs school dinners, they are very similar! Once you add in a healthy packed lunch policy they would actually out perform school meals - at much lower cost.

So the real answer is a healthy packed lunch policy as well as improving school meals of course!

If you look a the films on the website you will see that the idea is for the quality of school lunches to improve, for the children to learn where the food comes from and how to make it themselves and raise standards all the way around.

Fillyjonk75 Thu 18-Jul-13 14:03:43

Yes, when I studied in France we had excellent food (for the price) in the Restaurant Universitaire.

Starter - little salad or some such, main - typically something like brochettes and cous cous, but sometimes even steak frites. The steak could be a bit stringy sometimes but was generally quite good, and it got me into liking my meat pink/rare. Then a dessert - a choice of cake, yoghurt or fruit and also a bit of cheese. All for £1.30 a meal. This was 15 years ago, sure, but I bet they do it for £2.20 or similar now. You should certainly be able to do two courses for school kids well for that price IMO.

FreshCucumber Wed 17-Jul-13 13:25:43

Yes different situation in France. To start with lunch is a proper 3 courses meal with a starter, a main course and a dessert.
And even thought it us still canteen, mass produce and low quality type of food, it is still way better than what children eat here. And the quantity is there.

One of the reason for cheap school meals in France is because it is known that for some children it will be their only proper meal of the day. Quite a few children also do not face breakfast which doesn't help.
So the school meals are a way to ensure the poorest children still get a decent enough nutrition.

There is something to say about that but it also has its issues, mainly around special diets, whatever the reason. And you have to remember that the cost there is vet low compare to here. The government does support a big part of the cost of the school meal.

duchesse Wed 17-Jul-13 12:26:23

The setup is completely different in France. My friend is with the children through lunch every day in a quasi-parental role. She does all the bodily function stuff (feeding, toileting, washing) while the teacher does the teaching. My friend is on duty through her lunch and eats with the children, then has an hour off after lunch while the teacher takes the children to the playground with help from the year 6s and the other nursery teachers.

greenbananas Wed 17-Jul-13 11:38:41

duchesse - good for your TA friend. Glad she managed to help this little boy. However, a couple of things spring to mind:

a) The boy received a lot of support from your friend. This is very different to having a school meal plonked in front of you and being told you must eat it. School staff are generally busy to provide that level of support.

b) What if your friend had been wrong about this boy's reasons for not wanting to eat strange food? Some years ago, a child died in Spain because a nurse refused to believe his parents when they said he had a milk allergy (it wasn't written officially on his hospital notes). She decided he was 'just' a fussy eater with an overindulgent mother, so she fed him a yoghurt sad

Many children would be better off eating school meals (assuming a huge increase in quality), but many others would suffer or even be put at risk.

duchesse Wed 17-Jul-13 10:21:42

My friend is a TA in a nursery in France. One of her charges is fussy bordering on pathological at home. His diet at consists exclusively of pasta, sausages and bread. My friend has worked very hard with him (not assisted by the mum at all) and after 2 years of nursery he will now try anything put in front of him at school, and doesn't make a fuss if he doesn't really like it. At home he still eats pasta and sausages and kicks off if he's given anything else.

So this child who in the UK would probably be having regular appointments with paediatric nutritionists and feeding experts is actually perfectly capable of eating a variety of food. He just chooses not to. Having varied meals at school in an environment in which he knows they won't just whip out the pasta and sausages if he kicks off, is actually helping him to eat a varied diet. Surely that has to be a good thing? If only people realised how very differently their children behaved at school I'm sure many parents would be more supportive of the school.

Good - that is a really lovely idea. I bet they love it.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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...

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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).

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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