For my children to not have two cooked dinners?(219 Posts)
So from next week my two, dd 4 and ds6, will be school dinners everyday. Am I being unreasonable to not cook them a dinner in the evening and just give them a sandwich or beans on toast?? What do others serve up?
Two cooked meals a day is hardly exrtravagant is it?
I always think it's really sad when children just get a sandwich for their evening meal! School dinners are hardly huge and it's a long time before bedtime, put a proper dinner in their tummies before bed.
it will depend on the portion sizes that the school serves. If they are small then your lo's could certainly be hungry enough for a proper dinner
Of course YANBU. Nobody needs 2 cooked meals a day. Assuming they eat their school lunch of course and if they don't why are you bothering?
Sandwich tea or boiled egg, beans on toast or other quick snacky type meals is absolutely fine.
I would wait and see if they are hungry or not I wouldn't eat 2 cooked meals a day and school dinners are not tiny portions but they might not finish it all keep your options open yanbu though
Yanbu if that's what you want to do.
Have you seen the size of school portions though? I work at a school and the meals are oly usually 400 calories or under, not really much for a growing child.
Sandwich etc is fine, really don't see the aversion to it. If you feel like you want them to have something hot (e.g. particularly cold day), you could have some fast hot dinners too. Like jacket potatoes, pasta, eggs and soldiers, soup and bread.
You don't necessarily need to cook in the evening, but I think I'd make sure they got some veg in there somehow, that the meal was healthy overall. You can't be sure they eat enough at school and sometimes the meals aren't that nutritious.
That may be true Lego, but why do the dinner calories need to be hot? Sanwiches etc can still be a substantial meal.
I am flexible. Sometimes I cook a nice meal for DS, especially if I fancy it myself. A sandwich or such like every day would be a sad home event. Other times its just a bit of pasta, or toasted sandwich, as you say OP.
Isn't there a Middle Way?
School meals are not that huge,seriously. And if they don't like or eat everything, they are starving when they get home! There is nothing wrong with having two cooked meals.
Ive always wondered what this issue with having 'two cooked meals' is. Is it an english thing to not have a hot dinner in the evening? I'd never heard of it before MN.
Op is it the cooking aspect you dont fancy or do you think they dont need something hot or they've had their veg or what?
YANBU. But it does depend a bit on the quality/quantity of the school meals and how hungry your individual kids get!
Beans on toast, or a couple of boiled eggs with soldiers, a baked potato with topping etc; all perfectly reasonable meals (and hot, and cooked!) if they've had a decent lunch (and a good breakfast, and snacks at break time).
And it may not be 'extravagant' to cook a full meal in the evening, but it can be expensive and time consuming. I work full time, often not home until 6.30-7.00pm, and ds has school lunches - he knows full well that he won't always be getting a 'big' meal in the evening.
Where are you StephenFry? i am in Switzerland, virtually no one here has a hot meal in the evening, just one at lunch.
And wont you be cooking dinner for yourself anyway?
my ds never eats a cooked dinner if I serve one after school. the portions at his school must be massive as he only takes a few bites of supper before announcing he is full.
eggs and soldiers
beans on toast/chips
all fine in my opinion!
If mine have school dinners they only want a sandwich for tea. I will give them a hot meal if they asked but they haven't in 2 years.
I am in northern ireland- hot dinners every evening, even in summer!
There's nothing wrong with having two cooked meals a day. There's also nothing wrong with only having one! Food doesn't automatically become more nutritious just because it's warm
Do all of you have a cooked lunch and a 'proper' evening meal too? I don't!
imo YABU to give them a sandwich for their dinner every day. Do you really want to rely on a third party providing your children's main source of nutrition for the day? they will have had a whole afternoon of school when they get home so would seem to me they will need something a bit more substantial.
why is the sandwich not a major part of their nutrition animaniac? Food doesn't have to be hot to be nutritious.
Have you seen the school meals? I know they are not all that nutritional.
I'd rather I know, my child's getting its nutritional needs at home, today my eldest had a slice of cheese and Tom pizza and 4 patotoe wedges. That was his hot meal.
Tommorrow it's a sausage casserole with mr mash.
YANBU, there's nothing wrong with two cooked meals a day, but it doesnt mean you have to. After all, if they had packed lunches they would only have one hot meal a day, why does it matter if the hot meal is at school, not at home.
Although school dinners are not huge, I would think they would be plenty big enough for a 6 and 4 year old, as long as you are confident they will eat the majority of it.
Nothing wrong with a nutritious snack type meal like sandwiches, soup or beans on toast in the evening, especially if you do some veggies with it.
You'll soon know if they are eating enough, as they will tell you!
I agree it doesn't matter if the food is hot or cold. But for example just giving your kid a cheese sandwich in the evening is pretty lame. At least add a side of veg or a salad or something.
I think people are getting confused between 'nutrition' and 'cooking'...
the poster didnt say a sandwich every day she is talking about small lunchtime type meals at dinner time I really don't see the issue, and to say about school providing nutrition as if the op was neglecting her children well
Sarnie or a bit of quiche. Cherry toms, cucumber, grapes, few bits of pepper, chunk of naice ham, babybel, handful of crisps = picky tea. It's called a cold collation. I learnt that off Mumsnet when a post exactly like this came up a few months ago We're very proud of our cold collations in our house.
When they are starting school they often don't eat much of the school lunch. What they are offered & what they actually eat are two completely different things. When my children were in primary school they had a nutritious balanced meal I knew they liked in the evening, this helped counterbalance the 'half a potato & a slice of cucumber' level of nutrition they had at school.
Well firstly I was going to try and reduce my shopping bill. Two of them for the term is working out to be £300. We also pretty much do an activity every evening so will be short for time. A mixed response form you guys. I guess I should wait and see if they ask for a cooked dinner. My sons appetite is huge and would eat non stop. He's a rake though 😀
YANBU, my 5yo is often too tired for a cooked meal after school and prefers to flop on the sofa with a sandwich or a plate of "picky bits". (She has school dinners.)
At most, if she is up to sitting at the table all she wants is some beans on toast or spaghetti hoops. Anything more complicated than that is spurned.
School dinners are perfectly adequate for 4-6y DC with a good cold tea or hot snack as long as you put some fruit or salad with it.
Yes I cook for us, but DD2 is such a fusspot and eats so little it's often easiest simply to give her a snack. On the few days she will eat the school lunch.
With older DCs, perhaps 9 or 10, I'd check. School portions are not up to many Y5s and most Y6.
Secondary lunch seems to consist of random junk and I always cook tea.
Ive always wondered what this issue with having 'two cooked meals' is. Is it an english thing to not have a hot dinner in the evening? I'd never heard of it before MN
Yes, I think this is totally a British thing, many people are obsessed with 'hot dinners' as if they are more nutritious than a 'cold' meal.
My DS is of the age when he is rushing in from school and then out to sports/scouts/whatever - he just needs a quick meal, sandwiches/yogurt and fruit is abosultely fine - and no, he doesn't have a 'hot' meal midday either. He is totally healthy.
I would guess that a sandwich made with good wholemeal bread, some good quality protein, served with salad, or fruit is easily as balanced and nutritious as a school lunch and far better than pasta with pesto sauce, or white pasta with a slick of bottled Dolmio sauce for e.g.
Chicken salad sandwich, egg and cress, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and salad, with a glass of milk.... all good options for a nutritious meal!
If you are considering jam on processed white sliced with a glass of squash then maybe not so great.
No one is saying that mrsjay, however it would affect the children's nutrition daily.
By giving them sandwiches, which is high in carbs and salts for a meal everyday, and beans which is full of sugar, really isn't going to replace say a chicken dinner with fresh or frozen veg, or fish and cous cous (which are regulars in this house) .
I always cook a dinner at night ~ enjoyable for all the family to sit round the table and discuss our day ~ it's something we look forward to.
Mine all have a packed lunches thou as they don't like school dinners!
I wasnt suggesting that the Op was neglecting her children. I was simply saying that school dinners might not be as big as the op thinks.
When my DC are on hot dinners as opposed to packed lunches they get a hot meal. Doesn't bother me, but then I've never put much thought into it.
farewell yep in germany that's called abendbrot, it's a favourite at our house too Seems a bit different from what the OP is mentioning though as it's a pretty balanced meal, a bit of meat, cheese, bread, veg.
School lunches aren't all that great. Not all are freshly made, lots are basically ready meals that are heated up. Then there's the portion sizes. Really small. You can luck out and the meals are fab, but those schools are few and far between. The menus are lacking at times. Lots of carbs, not much protein and little fruit and veg. No where near the 5 a day.
Try it. But you might find that at 2 in the morning your children are waking you because they are starving.
I wasn't saying that food has to be hot to be nutritious, as other posters have said, you can have a good cold meal, im just not convinced that a sandwich on its own for dinner is quite right.
I think two cooked meals a day is important - I wouldn't voluntarily be serving sandwiches for either meal - sandwiches tend not to be that great nutritionally in any event. And they are cold which is never great in a cold climate.
when mine were on school dinners I would normally make a hot dinner - but just because the younger children, my DH and I still needed/wanted/felt like a hot meal in the evening.
probably more in the winter than the summer - it's comforting, after all.
but there were times when they didn't have a hot supper, but a sandwich or or toast. it really doesn't matter. whatever you and your kids are happy with is fine!
not that they have packed lunches it's pretty much the same - although tonight they will have cereal as I'm not feeling well and can't be arsed to worry about dinner.
when on holiday the hot/cold food ratio varies from day to day, more cold, if you count ice cream!
you can ask the teachers to check if your kids eat finish off their lunches - what matters is that they don't get hungry!
the rest doesn't matter.
I normally give mine a snack when we get home.
typo alert! it should have been
*now that they have packed lunches...
Depends on the school dinner, here the menu may read spag Bol, salad, garlic bread, fruit salad and yogurt.
In effect it's a small portion of spag Bol, and a yogurt if you are one of the ones last in the que!
We do a mix of proper meals, ie curry, rice, veg , tonight is lentil soup and pizza made with a muffin!
We live in Hertfordshire and I think the dinners are pretty good. I do have a menu here, so will make sure they know what to have. They have to select what meal they would like in the morning so the cook provides the right amount of meals. We had a sample dinner and the portion sizes were generous. I know a dinner lady there so will perhaps ask her. I would serve salad / fruit in the evening as well. I like to provide them with a balanced diet. I guess my trail of thought was if they were having a pack lunch they would only have one hot meal so do I need to provide two? Thanks xx
I would be worried that they weren't getting enough vegetables or a broad enough diet.
And actually making sandwiches can be just as time consuming as cooking a piece of fish and some veg, or doing a quick stirfry or whatever.
I cook a meal for mine , as all 3 are hungry when they get home from school.
But I don't necessary cook a proper meal, dinner could anything from pie and veg, toasted sandwiches and soup to pancakes.
I do find that there is normally one day on the 3 week rota that they do not like at all so I make sure I cook a decent meal that night.
But why is two cooked meals a day important, wuldric? Genuinely interested! I'm not suggesting dcs should only ever get sandwiches (!!) but equally really don't get this hot meals obsession.
Id do a hot meal in the winter, warm them through after activities / trudging through the snow etc. Summer - jacket pots, omelettes, sarnies, quesedillas, all quick and ideal with a salad.
I think it depends to be honest. With my dd its one or the other. If she eats a big cooked lunch she won't touch her tea really so I'd be wasting my time cooking, crackers and an apple would be about as far as it would be worth going.
It all depends on your kids appetites and the quality of the meals.
If the meals are food and your kids are t that hungry then of course sandwiches /crackers and some fruit would be totally fine. If the meals aren't that great I would try and do something like home made soups or French toast with berries and a yogurt.
If of course te meals aren't great and of course tiny I'd do another meal. Even if its just a chicken salad or a tuna jacket.
My dds have a school dinner (no choice of a packed lunch-theyre not allowed) but I still clook a meal on a night. Firstly because they are usually starving, and secondly because I cook for me and dp so they have what we're having.
For little ones school dinners should be fine with sandwiches in the eve.
I live in Herts too and think the cooked school meals on NHDC's contract are bloody awful. I don't know about further south. They really are just pre prepared, re-heated processed carbs and fat - there's little to no quality protein, usually a mix of processed sausages, pork patties (aka sausages), fish fingers, coated fish, etc etc. The picture menu bears no link to reality whenever I've been in school at lunchtimes. The chips no more than once a week issue? The potato product contract is with McCains for goodness sakes - it's chips once a week, potato cubes once a weeks, potato fritters once a week, nasty gluey mashed potato once a week. The free choice of salad, fruit and yoghurt that's mentioned on there? It's a facade. They can only choose salad if they haven't had veg, and yoghurt OR fruit only if they haven't had the listed pudding. It's one big con. A properly considered packed lunch or packed tea will be ten times more nutritious.
I always used to have 2 cooked meals (mine are too little to be worried yet). I remember always feeling really sorry for the kids who went home and only had a sandwich.
I think if you're cooking anyway it's no problem to cook a meal for them.
Just checked these 2
1. 440 g of spaghetti bolognese
36.5g protein, 57.6 carbs, calories 625.
1 cheese and ham sandwich, brown bread.
24.4g protein, 38.3g carbs, 440 calories.
I don't feel full up for long with the sandwich, plus cheese coleslaw, tomatoes and lettuce.
I do with the spaghetti bolonese.
I was always hungry as a child, more so than DB and Dsis
school dinner isn't really what I would call a cooked dinner.
yanbu - 2 cooked meals a day is too much.
"But why is two cooked meals a day important, wuldric? Genuinely interested! I'm not suggesting dcs should only ever get sandwiches (!!) but equally really don't get this hot meals obsession."
I completely agree FatalFlowerGarden
I am quite happy to live on 'cold' meals. A meal does not have to be hot to count as a meal.
Really sparkle?. The dinners are that bad? My son enjoys them. What does that say about my cooking
It all depends on the quality and size of your dc school meals really.
My two YR1's have school meals as dh and I eat late due to work. They go to a village school where meals are cooked fresh on site and we are given a 3 weekly rolling menu to chose from for the following term. I've seen the portion size and it's fine for them.
They have the following, which I wouldn't class as a cooked meal. Sandwiches, cucumber, toms, etc. Pizza and wedges, soup and rolls, beans on toast, poached eggs on toast, easy pasta and homemade sauce, hot dogs with good sausages.
DS in reception had his first school dinner today. I picked him up at 1pm (staggered start) and he was ravenously hungry. He had a cheese omlette and nut butter on wholemeal toast so an excellent start to the day. School dinner from what I could gather was mince with mashed potatoes and broccoli and some bread and a biscuit. Teacher said he ate everything.
When I left picked him up he ate a banana, lots of pistachios, apple and continued to eat all afternoon, another banana, bowl of chickpeas and some crisps.
Dinner was goat curry and rice with peas - he ate a normal about then some apricots.
He has a normal appetite usually and I've never seen him this hungry. I don't know if he' tired out cos of starting reception , but I really wonder about the quality and quantity of that school meal.
I'm considering sending him with a packed lunch.
There is nothing wrong with having 2 cooked meals a day. We regularly have 3 cooked meals and the whole family is slim.
Mine don't have a dinner dinner in the evenings if they have a school dinner. Never have done, infact dd1 in particular would have cold plates as her favourite.
They have cooked chicken, cheese, tuna, tomatoes, cucumber, crackers, toast, yogurt, apples instead. Not all of the above - whatever is handy.
Sometimes they have a boiled egg, beans on toast or porridge.
Yanbu, depending on what the school serves up.
When I was little I has lunch at my grand parents' every day and they had their main meal at lunch time. In the evening mum and I would have a boiled egg, a salad or beans on toast etc.
Hasn't done me any harm...
We almost always have a cold evening meal.
I cook at lunch for myself & the children
Husband has his main meal at work.
Then it's usually cobs/bread in the evening.
Anyone is welcome to cook themselves something if they want, of course.
There's always pasta/baked potato for a cheap meal that's more substantial than sandwiches.
Bonadee that's how we ate until my Mum went out to work full time (when I was 8). Tea was usually sandwiches or cheese on toast. On Saturdaywe had 'high tea' which would be something like scrambled eggs on toast. No harm done here either.
I dont like sandwiches or toast for tea either and certainly dont subscribe to just one hot meal a day.
School portions are small and i've seen the amount some children eat as nodbody is forced to eat it so most will be ready for a decent meal.
Really look at the food menu leaflet, with an independent, critical head on. Analyse it in terms of nutrition, processed elements, sameness, portion size. Be aware that it is an advertising brochure designed to reel you in and make them money. Read the bit about who delivers the contracts. Think about how these companies can possibly provide a meal to thousands of children everyday - certainly not by cooking from fresh raw ingredients on site, daily. Have you been invited to school to try a meal? Have you seen the actual portion sizes they get? My reception child was not a big eater, trust me, and was the size of a child 12-18 months younger, but he used to come out of school crying with hunger some days. What I am actually saying is that regardless of whether it's cooked or not, your home produced meal, if constructed carefully, will be a million times better than a school lunch.
No I don't know where this idea of 2 cooked meals a day came from either fatlazymummy and BonaDea. It wasn't what people did when I was a child either. Hot school lunch(no sandwiches allowed) and cold tea in the evening. The meals were a lot worse then than they are now too (spam fritters anyone? Bleurgh) . Now they have menus that I would actually eat.
In DS's school the portions are quite large from what I have seen (I got invited to try the school lunches as a governor and the children hosting had plenty) although it admittedly it isn't very nice but that is down to the cook, not the ingredients or the menu. I see the fresh veg on the door step most morning as we go passed the kitchens to drop DS off at school.
I really don't think it makes much difference if food is hot or cold. It doesn't affect the nutritional value of it except that cooking food often destroys nutrients, so I can't see why 2 hot meals or even one are that important. I would quite happily go several days on cold food personally although DH doesn't consider it sufficient if he doesn't have a one hot meal a day. No idea why.
I'm confused by some of the naysayers here: if your DC has packed lunches and a hot meal at night then surely they are only getting one cooked meal a day. So it hardly matters which time of day that hot meal occurs.
The key issues, as I see it, are nutrition and how much lunch the DC is eating. If the child isn't eating much lunch (packed or cooked) or the cooked school lunch is nutritionally poor then it makes sense to provide a more substantial meal at night.
Usually on a Friday ds has school dinner, I make the same for dd at home, fish fingers, chips and peas. And for tea tbh have a picnic tea, sandwiches or scrambled eggs. Something quick and easy. However if he has a school dinner in the week he still gets a cooked evening meal because I am cooking for everyone else anyway.
I think it's a gut instinct, nurturing thing and probably lovely if you've escaped it and the accompanying guilt! I'd feel awful if I didn't provide my family with a communal proper dinner in the evening. In hot weather a cold meal is fine but sadly lacking in comfort for most of the year. It's a food-as-love thing rather than a sensible consideration of nutrients provided.
My mum did this when we were children. We'd be given a little sandwich and then off to bed. Little did she know (or care, I suspect) that the hot school meals we had at school were disgusting, unhealthy and tiny in size.
We were rakes.
What will you have? If you and DH (I'm assuming a DH apologies if there isn't one) will have a hot meal why not sit the kids with you and have a family meal?
At 4 and 6 I preferred mine to sit at the table with us and have a family evening meal, though I appreciate thats not always possible.
I never hardly ever had hot evening meals as a child (or now). We ate a range of fresh fruit, veg, dairy, meat and grains. Really don't see the issue here.
My DS has a cooked school meal and sometimes wants just a snack, and other times is happy to have a bigger meal. We usually go for soup, rolls, noodles with stir fry veg, toasted sandwiches or if I have leftovers I'll reheat that. I don't cook a meal especially for him, but there is always a reasonable choice and he's never yet complained of hunger. One thing though is to make sure you use the time to talk about the day and just be together - family mealtimes are really important no matter what you're eating!
In Germany it is very common to have a hot lunch at work/school/kindergarten and "only" a sandwich in the evening.
(And heavy wholewheat German bread is definately substantial enough. )
Although admittedly the kindergarten and my work canteen serve meals which are tasty and healthy, and where my children are, they are served a 2nd breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, eat at a communal table and can take as much food as they like.
Can't kids having a school meal go back for seconds, at least of the carb stuff -> potatoes, rice, pasta, if they're hungry? They can't really expect an older athletic kid to eat the same as a small bookworm. How can kids concentrate if they're still hungry?
Depends on the child.
If my DD has a school dinner (they are very nice dinners btw!!!), she wont eat a cooked evening meal, she just doesnt have the appetite for it.
I don't understand the "only one hot meal" thing: I usually make soup (from scratch: each one lasts 2-3 days) for lunch for me and DS if its not a nursery day and then have hot dinner in the evening as well.
DS is fed at nursery (including tea) but still has a small amount of whatever we have as "supper" before bed. Means we all sit around the table together and its much better for him to have protein/veg with us than have a biscuit because he's hungry at bedtime.
My two boys (10 and 12) don't have a cooked meal in the evening if they've had one at school. They have sandwiches (ham, cheese, tuna), beans on toast, scrambled egg on toast, jacket potato etc. If sandwiches they have carrot/cucumber sticks with them, whatever the meal they have fruit, and often a piece of flapjack or muffin. They also both still like milk with their meal, so there is really no problem nutritionally - protein, carbs, fruit and veg. Why would they need a hot meal?
I've never really stressed about the hot dinners thing. We have, for tea, what I feel like doing, regardless of whether ds has had a hot lunch or not. Sometimes he's even had sandwiches twice! In this hot weather we've had, my kitchen has been up to 42 degrees at times, and I'm blowed if I'm putting the oven on in that heat, so we've frequently had days of sandwiches and salads etc. IMO, heating food up doesn't magically make it more nutritious! Last week, we went out for breakfast; had bacon, eggs etc at about 11am. Didn't have "lunch" as such, as we just weren't hungry, but ds did have a banana and half a punnet of grapes. Asked him what he fancied for tea and he said he wasn't that hungry so he had 3 weetabix before he went to bed. He's fine and doesn't seem too scarred by the incident
If they are anything like our schools dinners, they may need another dinner tbh.
If your dcs dont have a cooked dinner in the evening, does that mean that you dont have a dinner either?
To all those who say "does it matter which meal is sandwiches and which a hot dinner" I would have to say it does.
You don't know how much your child has eaten at school.
You don't know what's in a school dinner and neither you and the child know how it's prepared.
Surely the more complex meal should be the one you give to your children and the "easy" meal one for the school. Failing that two proper meals.
Having said that mine quite likes a picnic tea in the summer!
My ds 7 has just started having school dinners. He asks for a snack plate when he first gets home (a selection of fruit and veggie bits with cheese nuts crackers breadstix etc). He grazes on this while he has some downtime and watches tv. Later on he has toast or something on toast or a hot dog / fried egg sandwich generally something hot and fairly carby. He still has a cup of tea/cocoa and a biscuit at bed time.
And can I just add to those saying eat together, if your DH doesn't get in till after the kids are out to their activities, that doesn't work! I work (from home) till six thirty, then four nights a week there is an activity from seven for one boy or the other. So when I cook for us it is too late for them to eat. We all sit round the table for breakfast and start each day together though!
In fact, I just realised that around 4 days out of 7 I don't have a single hot meal a day. A cold meal doesn't necessarily equal "snack" (although some days we just graze), "unsatisfying" or "lacking in nutrition". Often things are more nutritious uncooked.
We very rarely eat as a family anyway, so if mine don't have a hot dinner in the evening, I tend not to either. If my husband isn't on night shifts etc we eat after the kids have gone to bed. I can't eat dinner before 8ish anyway.
We eat together with a large extended family over the weekend so I'm happy enough just to sit and talk to them while they eat.
DH has only been home in time for a family supper once this week. He has a job which requires long hours and a commute to get home. I generally cook twice and sit with the children while they're eating and then eat with DH if he's home before about 10pm, if I know it's going to be later I'll just cook the once, eat with the children and plate him a dinner for later. I feel very strongly that I need to sit and talk at the table with whoever is eating, a shoved-down line supper is a miserable thing!
My two have a hot meal at school/nursery then usually sandwiches or crackers with cheese/ham, cucumber sticks, tomatoes and fruit. They are absolutely fine with that and don't need anyone feeling sorry for them thanks, how ridiculous!
Those asking why don't people eat with their kids as a family, well if you are lucky enough to have a DP/DH who is home early, great, but that doesn't apply to everyone. DH gets home at about 8.15, and the DC are in bed asleep by then! They eat around 5-5.30, DH and I eat around 8.30/9ish. We all eat together as a family at the weekend.
Hey choceyes that curry sounds delicious! Bless him, to have been so hungry throughout the day.
I'm caribbean, and we usually have a hot meal in the evening too. DH is german, and so we alternate as in Germany, hot meals are only served at lunch time. My side of the family is all slim, and DH side are a bit tubbier. Don't know if that is connected to the eating habits though.
OP it all depends on your kids needs and habits. But I wouldn't wholly rely on the school providing all of the nutritional needs of your children. Plus, our kids prefer foods from our two cultures as opposed to the school meals.
YANBU - Although easier if you eat with them, but if you have to cook separately for yourself and your DC then a sandwich etc will suffice. I seem to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food for my two, one who is diabetic and the other gluten/dairy free - they are both picky eaters and I just don't want to eat the stuff they like. Sometimes it's a hot meal, other times it's light (like a sandwich) or frankfurters and baked beans and so on. Depends on time really. You can heat up a tin of rice pudding and some tinned/fresh fruit to get some of their "5 a day". Give them a snack after school like cheese/cold meat/carrot/hummus, if you can after school and one an hour pre bedtime - snacks (not crisps/cake) are really important - more so than a hot dinner IMO. Anyway, do what you can, depending on the time that you have.
sometimes ds has cheese or beabs on toast for dinner or picky bits other times a proper meal he is not always that hungry or just wants to snack
Someone mentioned Switzerland upthread - I'm half Swiss and at my grandparents house we used to have soup and apple tart, boiled new potatoes and cheese or cold meats, salads and a big bowl of crisps - light and easy. Same thing goes for Spain - main meal (hot) and then siesta then a much lighter meal (salad and fried meat for example) in the evening.
Why can't a cold meal be just as nutritional as a hot meal? I don't get it!
Also, surely beans on toast is a cooked meal? You have to toast the bread and warm up the beans.
I don't think a second meal is needed at that age. When they are older they will most probably want one, but I think at that age something like soup, bubble and squeak, casseroles, pasta, eggs or beans on toast would be plenty. Followed by fruit and yogurt as well.
I don't think a sandwich is enough though. A toasted sandwich or panini would be ok but I think they need something warm.
I wouldn't rely on a school dinner to provide sustinence or nutrition tbh.
We had a sample dinner and the portion sizes were generous
Ive been to a 'sample' school dinner event, Ive also been in school while lunches were on and believe me, there was a stark difference between the sample dinners and the reality.
We supposedly have 'freshly baked bread daily' Bull. Maybe half a slice of packet bread, but never freshly baked. same with the 'salad bar'
They are ok, but I would base any decision on what to give in the evening on a proper look at what they are getting at lunch time.
We eat a nice meal in the evening. Including the children, both of whom have school dinners (poor things).
I think it's actually a very British thing to dislike food and not want a nice meal in the evening. Whether that is hot or cold.
My dc come home from school more hungry after having a school lunch than when they have a packed lunch, the portion size is small and it doesn't not keep them filled up till teatime!
Just out of curiosity , all those who have kids so unfulfilled from there school lunches and are having to provide proper cooked meals and extra snacks on top, doesn't that cost you more money than if you put them on packed lunches where you could provide bigger portions or more filling food or even food they will actually eat. Doesn't it kind of defeat the object of them eating the school meals of its not actually saving you the time effort and money?
"I don't think a sandwich is enough though. A toasted sandwich or panini would be ok but I think they need something warm."
Sorry but at the ludicrous idea that a sandwich is fine if it's served at a high temperature, but not if it's served at room temperature.
"I think it's actually a very British thing to dislike food and not want a nice meal in the evening."
Who dislikes food and doesn't want a nice meal in the evening?
I also find these sort of threads really weird. I'm be utterly unimpressed with a snack tea (hot or cold) for my evening meal. I like an actual dinner (which, again, may be hot or cold) rather than a sandwich or a boiled egg.
I produce a dinner for everyone every night and we all eat together. It's part of the social life of our family. In the summer this might be a meal served at room temperature, but hot food is lovely on cold dark evenings. It would never occur to me to think: the kids had a school dinner so I don't need to include them in the family evening meal.
I was responding to the allegation upthread (which has been made frequently on similar threads) that somehow it is a 'Brit' obsession with wanting a cooked meal in the evening. On the contrary, speaking as someone a Bit Forrin, I think that the idea of 'tea' as something not involving hot food is a v Brit thing. And is part and parcel of a culture that isn't really mad about nice food anyway.
...and no, a sandwich doesn't count as a nice meal to me. It is not something you actively look forward to, and think 'ah well, at 7pm I will have my lovely sandwich and the day will be over and I can relax and savour it....'
"It would never occur to me to think: the kids had a school dinner so I don't need to include them in the family evening meal."
How lucky you are then, that assuming you have a DP/DH, he is home early and there can be a "family evening meal". If I included mine, they'd be up until 9.30pm.
I don't know why I come on these threads, they always turn into competitive parenting, and are full of people who are smug and self-congratulatory and feeling sorry for the children of other posters.
I do a 'proper' dinner every evening, hot or cold, I don't rely on school dinners to provide my kids with micronutrients! My son doesnt really like sandwiches so he has school dinners but when they are allowed to choose pasta with mashed potato and a roll, I am not convinced they get enough vitamins especially when most of the veg is overcooked....
Whereismycaffeinedrip I only send my dc to school dinners occasionally on a Friday as there is never any food on a Friday as Friday is shopping day! It is expensive and I know it doesn't fill them, they do enjoy going to school dinners to be with their peers, it would cost me £20 a week for them to have school lunches I couldn't afford that every week!
So an obsession with wanting a cooked meal in the evening and the idea of "tea" not involving hot food are both British? Well now I am confused!
Are school dinners at lunchtime?
Are you not allowed two cooked meals a day?
This must be an English thing, most odd.
Actually thinking about it there isn't anything wrong with something small but filling after school, if that's all the child requires (from reading this thread schools must differ quite widely on the quality of their hot lunches so it would be a case-by-case thing surely?), I think I'm just projecting my own childhood onto the topic tbh.
My mother refused to cook us a meal on the basis that we'd 'already been fed at school' and that we 'couldn't be that hungry' - we'd go to bed with rumbling stomachs. But she was actually generally very neglectful.
It would feel wrong for me.
Surely it doesn't matter.
I like a big meal. We like to sit down to ... a big meal. I like it when dh is home in time to eat with us.
But there are plenty of other times we have a lighter meal. Nothing wrong with beans on toast.
I really don't see his as an issue.
I'm not feeling sorry for other people's kids. If their parents are happy with a snack tea and eating separately from them, fair enough. I wouldn't choose to do that. And is never heard of the practice until I came across it on MN.
Incidentally, if one of DH or I will not be back in time for tea, the one who is has dinner with the kids and the other reheats their portion later.
If our school did hot lunches, I wouldn't give DD one at home as well in the evening.
Although she would eat sandwich/snacky meals twice a day over 'proper' ones given half a chance in any case.
I remember having a cooked dinner at school which was never nice and then a sandwich at night when my parents had a nice hot meal. It doesn't take much to cook a bit more
School dinners are tiny & often not balanced or nutricious so a home cooked meal before bed is needed. Kids are growing & need plenty of nutrients & energy. My BIL rations food out to his dc so they gorge in other peoples houses because they do not get enough at home. This is an extreme example but it is important to feed your kids well so they don't get the urge to binge/snack on rubbish.
YANBU, 2 of mine have hot lunches and it's a relief to know they can have sandwiches for dinner and I don't feel guilty about it.
Although, I had hot lunches, including a huge bowl of sponge and custard, and remember coming home seriously hungry - snacking all afternoon and eating a big hot dinner (supper).
for me, its always the suggested alternatives to a cooked dinner that make me
german style sounds great, swiss style sounds yum, spanish suggestions also good
then we come to the british alternative: the sandwich on processed plasticky bread, probably with some nasty processed filling, or beans on toast (which i always think of as a hot meal, so maybe it is suggested as a snack meal rather than a cold meal)
and thats why people go 'bleurgh'
proper sandwich on healthy home made bread with loads of salad in, or selection of cold cuts plus nibbly salad stuff actually sounds a nice idea for a simple tea
I always do a cooked dinner (but a fast one) on Wednesdays as DD has swimming after afterschool club in crèche (where she gets hot dinner) and school to 2pm.
She goes to crèche 2 other afternoons too, but may have something lighter the 2 afternoons she gets collected from afterschool activities in school so straight home. Those 2 days I will always do full dinner for her. The other 2 days she has crèche so gets a hot dinner early afternoon, I MAY do a hot dinner again or it MAY be something cold or less substantial. (If she has not eaten a lot that day, which can happen, I will definitely do something I know she'll eat).
But if she has eaten well already, I am happy to give her something smaller. Especially if it's a night I am less organized so making dinner later, when she's in bed, for DH and I works well.
As long as she has enough to eat, that's the important thing - and a slice of hot or cold quiche with coleslaw and cherry tomatoes may be better for her (health wise and/or her actually eating/finishing it wise) than a plate of chips and cheap chicken nuggets, or mashed potato and a chop. And if she's hungry before going to bed, she always gets a cookie with a glass of milk anyway and can have an apple if she wants more.
My toddler is only two, but because I don't really like sandwiches (and I've yet to convince him that eating salad is a good idea) I give him two hot meals a day. If I have time, the evening meal will be a grain-based dish, such as rice, pasta or quinoa, but if I'm in a rush, cheese and onions on toast or jacket potatoes it is. I always serve these with a side of the cold vegetables he will eat, such as chopped tomatoes and avocado, and follow up with a fruit salad.
Of course you are being unreasonable to not do it simply because they have already had a cooked meal that day.
You wouldn't be unreasonable however to serve it on occasion for a quick dinner.
I never get the mentality of those who think kids should only get 1 cooked meal a day! Not that only having one cooked meal is a problem, provided it's balanced.
Can someone please explain how this works please?
Do children get hit "dinners" at lunchtime and then a sandwich at dinner time and that's it?
That sounds like a lot of hours without eating!
Just reading further through this - I can't believe the number of people who have issues with cooked meals.
My kids have two per day, sometimes three.
It's the content of the meal that counts, not the temperature - but again, why just decided 'no more hot dinners' just because they have a small, not great quality school dinner.
Your kids will remember your culinary efforts, that's for sure.
No longer than going 7-12 from breakfast til lunch
Most do give snacks after school and there's usually salary bits or fruit/yogurt with the sandwich. It's just lunch and dinner reversed.
I have to add that we almost never eat sandwiches. Uncooked meal does not equal "sandwich".
We are a very multicultural family, so do not subscribe to any one right way of eating. We eat what we fancy, what's quick and what's as nutritious as possible. Hot, cold, who cares. We sit at the table together some days - some days we don't. I'm working from home part time, and DH works from home, as well, so we are together and talk a lot during the day. Mealtimes are not our only chance to catch up. I appreciate that that might change after DS goes to primary next year. Still doesn't mean that I have to cook a hot dinner, unless we fancy one.
Smoked salmon, eggs (hard boiled/omelette), cold new potatoes, nuts, humus, full-fat yoghurt, berries is probably healthier than a lot of cooked meals for children (shepherd's pie, pasta, sausages and mash with peas) -more micronutrients and fats for growth. Healthy food doesn't have to be hot, doesn't even need to be cooked. Also, good fats and protein will fill them up.
I love two hot meals a day myself, but this summer we have had loads of picnics (ie sandwiches...)
I could not inflict one more ham sandwich on my children!
I think it depends on their appetite rather than the length of time or even whether a meal is hot or not.
My child has
skinny hollow legs. He buys something at school and I find it's a great time/money saver to make a full loaf of sandwiches on Sunday, stick them in the fridge, then he can help himself if he wants right after school <and they are all gone already from this Sunday past> and he has a hot dinner and supper
I now see why parents just bought a goat (for milk) and had a chest freezer (bought a cow/pig at a time & filled it) when they had four ravenous
Sandwiches for tea is terrible. Make them some proper food ffs.
You wouldn't have a butty at tea time, why on earth should they?
the children need food in a well balanced diet. it does not necessarily have to be hot.
Sandwiches for tea is terrible. Make them some proper food ffs.
Of course it's not terrible. Surely making kids with smaller appetites all bloated out on more hot food is worse? Sandwich with home made bread, carrot/cucumber sticks, tomatoes home made cole slaw etc is a perfectly adequate tea. Especially on top of the heave stodge that is the school dinner.
Those asking why don't people eat with their kids as a family, well if you are lucky enough to have a DP/DH who is home early, great, but that doesn't apply to everyone
This. One or either of us is usually out at work until at least 7pm. DS goes to bed at 7pm. So which is better, I keep DS late so he's tired but has had a family meal, or I let him eat earlier - I vote the latter personally.
And actually what I tend to is have a freezer full of leftovers from the meal that DH and I eat at about 8pm as we deliberately cook too much. So I get DS home and whack something in the microwave to reheat it - proper hot food and ready in 3 minutes. Do I get a gold star for that one?
decides not to mention the fact that tea yesterday was cold cocktail sausages and tomatoes because he wouldn't eat anything else
So no one ever has sandwiches just about every day for lunch
At least in UK you can get quite a selection of bread and things like crumpets for a change.
My DC have (pretty good) cooked lunches at school, and logistics often make cooking proper meal for all of us in the evening impractical. That being so, they often have pasta (sauce precooked for the week), soup and toast, beans on toast or something similar, followed by fruit /yoghurt, but that is more about time than anything else. If DD has "tea" (cooked meal) at school and gets home at 7:30pm, he still wants a snack .
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'm always puzzled at 'beans on toast'. Surely that's just carbs on carbs? Like having a sandwich with toast as filling in the middle?
Eggs on toast, avocado on toast, cheese and tomatoe on toast
But not beans on toast
In regards to question, I think it's fine as long as balanced, but ours don't like sandwiches so wouldn't do here. We usually make soup for lunch often and lasts a couple of days ( or you can make a large batch and freeze). All healthy and generally cheap.
Soup, bread and some cheese/ fruit would work well
forever I agree with the carb on carb thing; but this is the country where you get served lasagna with chips
Poppy - and cottage pie and chips! And pie and chips. I mean pie is pastry over the top and underneath usually, how do people eat more carbs by adding mash/ chips etc.
Would just have pie and veg here. Surely chicken and mushroom pie, with carrots, asparagus and broccoli fills plate anyway.
I think it depends on;
age of child (got away with this when they were 3&5 , 4&6 and 5&7 now 6 yo might accept it 9 yo no way)
level of activity (always starving after riding, less so after flute!)
outside temperature (less than 10c and I would never serve a cold evening meal)
I rarely have a sandwich for lunch, tbh. I'm not an enormous sandwich fan really.
I give my children a meal every evening (in a portion size suitable for them). Sometimes that will be hot, sometimes it will be cold, but it will just be whatever DH and I are eating. At school they can choose a hot or a cold lunch. What matters is that it is a meal, not the temperature it's served at. In the summer we've been known to have 'cold' meals for both lunch and dinner because a no one fancies a hot meal.
I guess I just don't understand the MN obsession with whether or not children should have cooked meals after school. It makes no sense to me, and certainly wasn't something I was in any way aware of before MN. When I was at school everyone seemed to go home and have a cooked dinner after school, whether they'd had a school dinner or a packed lunch. Even the kids who had a cooked meal when they went home for lunch would go home to eat a cooked dinner in the evening. There was none of this one meal has to be cold, the other hot weirdness.
Incidentally, if you decide to have a cooked breakfast (rather than cereal) does that mean you can only eat sandwiches for the rest of the day? Does some bacon and eggs occupy the 'hot' portion of the MN daily meal temperature chart?
DS1 is 5. His current packed lunch is larger than DH's and he is always ravenous if he has school dinners.
Since one of the things the OP wants to achieve is a reduction in cost, I think it's worth mentioning that I find a good cold meal costs more than an equivalently filling hot meal. Eg naice ham, bread, cheese and salad costs definitely more than a stew. The stew also takes minutes to prepare (though hours to cook the first time) and is quickly served, as opposed to faffing about with lots of different bits.
This is a constant argument between myself and EX. He insists on cooking them a full meal each night and I don't.
On Wed they had a roast at school. I made them cheese and ham omelette, baked beans and a slice of inch thick homemade bread for tea. Then they went to exs and I got a text asking why the kids hademt been fed properly (ie meat and two veg)
Was going to post a jokey comment along the lines of toasting the sandwiches to make sure there were two hot meals a day and see that it's been given as a serious suggestion!
Meals need to be tasty and nutritionally balanced, and that's all that matters for me. I feel very sorry for the posters on this thread saying they used to go to bed hungry though - how awful to not be able to tell your parents you are hungry/ be refused food.
Incidentally, beans are pulses to me, not carbs. Therefore am fine with brans on toast. Spaghetti hoops on toast though...never understood that one!
YABU because a school meal is NOT a proper cooked meal.
Yes it's warm (ish). Yes it's food that has been cooked but it's no where near a cooked meal.
Unless you have been happy to feed your dc chicken nuggets and lasagne out of a very cheap frozen meal until now, the food they will be eating will very poor quality on all account: nutritionally, quantity wise (even though at that age they might still be happy with that) and taste wise.
Whether its hot or cold is irrelevant.
Ds has a cooked school lunch but the portions are small and they often run out of certain items on the menu. Taking this into account I ensure that ds has an adequate meal in the evening, it might be a hot meal or it might be sandwiches or pasta salad.
I find it strange that people feel sorry for children receiving nutritious food. Save the sympathy for the hungry children.
Incidentally, if you decide to have a cooked breakfast (rather than cereal) does that mean you can only eat sandwiches for the rest of the day? Does some bacon and eggs occupy the 'hot' portion of the MN daily meal temperature chart?
lol now that is a question. What will I do with dc1 who loves a cooked breakfast?
Used to be a mid day supervisor - most of the hot dinners seemed to end up on the floor or in the slops bucket.... no one is going to stand over them to make sure they eat it....
So even if you think they have eaten a hot meal, even if they TELL you they have eaten a hot meal, I would say around 60% of kids do not eat more than half of their dinner...
and I do not blame them
Lady very few schools still provide junk food. The meals at my sons school include roast dinners, casseroles and risottos. I'm not concerned about the quality it's more the quantity that I have an issue with. For infant school children its fine but not enough for a strapping 10/11 year old.
I still think its fine to give sandwiches as a meal in the evenings. Bread, cheese, butter, ham and houmous contain quite a few calories.
Firstly they tend to eat lunch quite early, around 12 noon. We eat at 1ish at home. Whatever they have for lunch at school, they are always STARVING by 3.30pm. Also school portions tend to be quite small, for most children it wouldn't be enough for the main meal of the day.
Just cook whatever you would normally for your family, they can always have a small portion!
I thought the same thing after mine complained about what I'd troubled myself to cook for them. But Dh feels we cant be sure what they will get at school my ds seems to choose spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread most days!
My DS's have school dinners but this doesn't automatically mean they've had a hot meal. My 5 year old chose cheese sandwiches for his lunch all week.
So are you sure they'll even have a hot meal every lunchtime?
I think you're over estimating the quality and content of school meals. Having witnessed them at first hand (have worked in and out of schools for over a 10 year period) most children will be more than ready for their evening meal having had a small 1 or 2 course dinner at 12.30pm. Sometimes the "pudding" is half an apple and the wastage is incredible. Tons of food gets scraped into the bins.
I'm always puzzled at 'beans on toast'. Surely that's just carbs on carbs?
No it isn't carb on carb. Baked beans count as one of your 5 or 7 or 10 a day They should only count as one portion like other pulses, no matter how many you eat, but they still count.
I still don't understand why some food has to be hot? It is a complete puzzle to me. Do those of you who insist on hot food in winter not have central heating or sufficient clothing? I relish the evenings, which are few and far between, when I don't have to cook for the family and I can eat what I like for tea. More often than not it will be something that doesn't need cooking and is cold - even on the coldest days. It doesn't affect my body temperature because the house is warm enough and I have clothes on!
School dinners are regulated by law
Lougle, lots of things in education are regulated by law, but that doesn't mean that's what happens.
Those that think they are adequate, have you actually seen them? I mean seen them on a regular day and not when a special show has been put on for parents?
I remember my son being told he wasn't allowed to have any peas [which was just one breakfast sized bowlful- for the entire school] because they had to save some for the next sitting [ie juniors sitting]
What those nicely printed menus say and what your child actually gets are very often two different things.
What AmberLeaf said. The portion sizes are woeful and many times if your DC is on the "last sitting" they get the dregs of what's left.
I still don't understand why some food has to be hot? It is a complete puzzle to me. Do those of you who insist on hot food in winter not have central heating or sufficient clothing?
That probably has a lot to do with why it is culturally entrenched yes.
That is why I usually do a hot meal!
Beans is not just carb, it is veg really, and a source of protein, yes it has carbs too... A superfood really!
Sometimes my eldest daughter comes home and tells me that they ran out of food by the time she reached the front of the line. So she ended up with an imbalanced meal or not enough.
In her case, I cook a main meal in the evening, so it's not the end of the world. I worry about the kids on school dinners who might really be depending on school dinners.
The trouble is, you don't know for sure what the quality of the school dinner is, and whether your dc actually ate much of it.
Are portion sizes for school meals not regulated ?
Correct Portion sizes are a lot smaller than most of us think are acceptable. Try weighing out 30g of breakfast cereal, most of us will quite happily consume a lot more than is recommended,hence the current obesity crisis !
There really is no need for a child to have two so called "proper" cooked meals a day. Just because something is "cooked from scratch" and hot does not necessarily mean its nutritionally superior.
I try to make sure my DC's eat well 95 % of the time,but I've never encounted so much food snobery than on MN.
Life is far too short to beat yourself up for shoving a white bread cheese butty and packet of pom bears at your child for tea..................
Sample dinners normally are generous portions
But in reality, Primary school dinners are usually quite tiny...just a light lunch really, as that's all they need midday.
I would definitely provide a cooked evening meal, but that's because I know what our school dinners are like.
Worra they are small portions for a 4~6yo yes but none are adequate for Y5~6 children who are clearere bigger and eat more.
My Y5 son eats as mcuh as me (or DH!) and needs more than 2 chicken nuggets, 2 (very) small potatoes and 2 brocoli florets (again small).
That's why at our school children in lower classes are usually having school dinners but the time they are in Y5 or Y6, few still do.
midlands - I would actually consider that I had failed as a parent if that is what I had to put in front of mine for their tea except in some kind of emergency.
People are so weird about cooked meals on here. What on earth is wrong with preparing a nice dinner for your family?
School dinners are grim, by and large. And there is no way of knowing how much your child is eating.
We tried DS1 on school dinners, and he ate next to nothing. When I quizzed him it transpired that various of the veg and extras with the meal were in very short supply and if you weren't at the front of the queue then all you got was whatever the main part of the meal was - but no extra portion to compensate for missing out on all the rest.
Totally bemused though by the poster a couple of pages back who said that she wouldn't do a 'proper' cooked meal, that the children would be fine with some casserole or pasta. Maybe it was a typo?
cleti you are not worried about the quality??? Have your forgotten the story abut horse meat already. The one that sneaked in school dinners?
Same here LID
They serve the exact same size portions to the 4yr olds in Reception class, as they do to the 11yr olds in year 6.
Some of the year 6 kids are taller than the staff.
The school dinners in the school i work in aren't particularly appetising and portions are small i would definitely give my child a decent meal at night
There is nothing wrong with 2 cooked meals a day
There is nothing wrong with one cooked meal and one easy snacky/ sandwich / quick meal
I wouldn't be happy with 2 snacky sandwich Meals a day
See how they go. May fancy something hot and filling as gets colder
Some school dinners are yum. Others rank - varies
I always wondered that Ali - some people's definition of a cooked meal is beyond me. Perhaps they do three courses for a 'proper' meal or something.
I am not sure why I even join these threads because there are some very strange ideas. My two have and have always had, pack lunches except for Christmas lunch. DS1 loved those. DS2 has had one and said never again. Having tried their lunches (and a roast too) I can't say I blame him. I just think it is odd that food is deemed sufficient or insufficient by what temperature it is.
Also, if somebody sends their child for a cooked lunch presumably it is for the sake of convenience more than anything so I don't get why you would cook anyway in the evening - surely the advantage of school lunches are lost then?. If you were going to cook why not send your child with a packed lunch which would be a better choice nutritionally than some of the school dinners seems to be? Then you can all have your hot meal together in the evenings.
My two have cooked dinners. They are 14 and 7. They are ravenous after school. I mean starving to death ( their words ) they have crisps or a scone or a teacake/crumpet or a yogurt and fruit.
They then have a big meal later on. And supper.
They are skinny things who never stop. I think they must need it.
midlands - I would actually consider that I had failed as a parent if that is what I had to put in front of mine for their tea except in some kind of emergency
Personally I can think of plenty more ways to fail as a parent than by giving them the occasional cheese sarnie..........
I am still shocked that people would criticise other people for not doing two cooked meals whilst simultaneously allowing their child to eat the nutritionally worthless slop that they know is not good enough and that's why they cook another meal. If they are that bad then don't give it to them and you wouldn't need to make up the shortfall then
I'm not talking about those who have no choice, just the ones who pay for the food then moan about how bad it is and that others are in the wrong by not cooking another meal.
I am another who simply does not get the obsession with hot vs cold food at all, never mind the obsession that anything other than 2 hot meals is not good enough, bordering on neglect. You can be perfectly healthy on no hot food ever, you know!
Well balanced, varied meals of the appropriate portion size is all that matters.
Which is better - waffles and sausage with beans (hot meal) or a cheese and tomato sarnie with fruit, cucumber and pepper sticks, and a flapjack? I know which one I would rather my kids had. I know people who sneer at the "no hot evening meal" families while dishing up nothing but convenience food/junk to theirs!
My DC have packed lunches (as do DH & I most days, sometimes we will grab a pasty or supermarket salad pot). They are generally sandwich based but can also have hummous n veg sticks, crackers and cheese, cold pizza or quiche (both homemade). They have fruit snacks at school and when they get home, and a cooked dinner in the evening. That way I have a realistic idea of what/how much they have eaten.
Our schools dinners are all done in house and are healthier than some, but some parents still have no idea of what was still available when the child got their turn for lunch, how much they were given, or how much they ate.
But whether or not school dinners are any good is beside the point. Whatever the DC had for lunch, they should have a reasonably healthy evening meal. The temperature of the evening meal makes no difference.
Those slagging off school dinners shouldn't be concentrating on what the DC eat in the evening, but on improving what they eat for lunch!
Lady, no I'm not worried about the quality in our area. I know the suppliers and the quality is good. As I said previously its the quantity that does concern me and the fact that they often run out of items by the time the older children have their lunch.
If you all think school dinners are tiny and poor quality why on earth do you pay for them?
Ours are generally good quality, nutritious with ample portions. Otherwise I'd do packed lunches (which can be just as nutritious as a cooked meal).
My kids take packed lunches
But as a governor I was shocked just before the school broke up and I saw the measly amount the kids were given.
Especially feeding the year 6 kids (some of whom are 5ft 10" or taller) the exact same amount as the 4yr olds in Reception.
I honestly think most parents have no idea of how small the meals are, so we voted to have photos of them on the website.
I'm one of the main people 'slagging' off school lunches. Suffice to say mine have packed lunches...
midland - nothing wrong with a cheese sarnie, we all eat them regularly. Not on plastic white bread with extra processed carbs though.
Maybe it's a cultural thing? I have always had a hot meal when I was younger and now do it for the DDs (they eat what DH and I eat, and we all eat together). I thought it was normal to have a hot meal in the evenings - but this thread seems to suggest otherwise!
When they start school, they will eat a hot meal at dinner, be it pasta, rice with fish and veg, homemade soup etc.
It's a lovely idea mamij that the whole family can sit together an eat an evening
hot meal together every night but surely in reality a lot of families don't have that opportunity?
My DH often works late/away, I usually do voluntary work or have to drive my son to various activities in the evenings, DS does scouts/sports/youth club etc. So the idea that we are all at home at 6pm or whatever to eat together is just not going to happen.
It's a lot easier if your children are much younger and you and your DH/DP work regular hours.
I think do what you like and see what mood they are in..mine have school dinners, I also think it depends on what you do all day work wise and get home time wise.
Last night mine both asked for snacky tea.. so i did chopped up peppers / tomatoes / cucumber / salad / tuna wraps with mayo and sweet corn / bag of crisps.. yogurt for pudding!! They ate it all and i didn't have to cook after a long day at work I ate the same - my DS are 9 & 6 and tonight we all had beans on toast with an egg.. washed down with some (petrol station) shop bought rocky roads (shock horror!!)
I don't enjoy slaving over the oven after a long day at work and enjoy doing quick simple meals so we can spend some time chatting and playing and walking the dogs. Less dishes, less mess and full children, and no lunch boxes to faff over each morning.
School dinners round here are bloody awful so I'd certainly wanting mine having something with veg etc, but if the school dinners are good then YANBU
I'm not slagging off school meals, I'm saying they aren't what the glossy menus make them out to be, so people should base their evening meal decisions on their child having had a light lunch unless they absolutely know otherwise.
Try it and see how they react to it.
If they complain of being hungry, or are tired or grumpy, they probably need the second big meal.
If they are comfortably full and happy it's probably fine.
Most people don't mind school dinners being small, as most people provide a substantial meal in the evenings, My eldest is 7 and we had to put him on packed lucked as the school meals weren't providing him with enough energy and sugar content (high motabalism, which gets treated like food controlled diabetes) even tho in Y1&2 school meals met his needs but they haven't in Y3.
And was regularly needing custard creams, to maintain sugar levels.
I tend to do scrambled eggs once a week, sandwiches etc another day, baked spud on swimming nights and then something like pasta, fish fingers, chicken and rice on the other nights - a bit mix and match.
Thing is scrambled eggs and omelettes are, erm, cooked. This seems to have been entirely overlooked in this discussion.
And sandwiches aren't exactly raw either, what with all the bread and such like involved.
Oh shit, you're right.
I'll give the little bastards grated carrot on Monday. That'll learn 'em.
Most people don't mind school dinners being small, as most people provide a substantial meal in the evenings
really? that's not my experience at all....the ones who have school dinners in the main do so either because they are on FSM, or because they have 2 parents working, little time to cook after work and running about taxi-ing kids to activities, and provide only a hurried "tea" at home. They are also the ones with more disposable income, so able to afford school dinners. Our school dinners cost £2.30 but mine have a packed lunch and main meal at home - no way do our family meals cost that per person.
A sandwich, half a bag of crisps, bit of salad (and I mean carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes etc). Yogurt for pudding. Or a small bun. This is sufficient. Even for my 10 year old who does two hours of dance every night!
However it would be boring every night. Therefore I sometimes do soup and crusty bread. Or jacket spud. Or beans on toast. Play it by ear.
As I said most people, clearly I didn't say all people.
Ds has been to every child in his classes school for tea and very single one of them as given him a meal that contains more than a white carbs.
OK, didn't mean to offend you but I still do not agree, round here at least, that "most people" provide a substantial evening meal. Most don't.
Also IME, when people have a guest child over, they may actually provide different to the usual fare, for fear of being judged ie "IABU DS went to a friends house for tea and it was just a cheese sandwich and a bag of crisps followed by an apple. IABU that mother is so lazy and a bad host. DS has a school lunch but needs another 2 course hot dinner every day"
I think if there are two working parents getting home tired at the end of a long day, it is very tempting not to cook. The temptation is to get a ready meal out or to do a sandwich. But I think we all know this is a product of tiredness/laziness. Sandwiches are not that appetizing. As an evening meal they are a pretty horrid solution really. Same with ready meals.
There are two FT working parents in our household and we never resort to ready meals or sandwiches in the evening. It's not necessary. You just have to practise being a secret slattern. I can whip up a tasty and nutritious hot meal in the time that it takes to make sandwiches for four. I can really and truly. Anyone can.
I work full time as does my dh, both if my child attend after school activities 4 x a week and also play football all day on a sat.
This week ds was at school Thursday and Friday, he had football, and tennis, 3.30-4.30 and then football training 5.45 to 6.45 and then judo the Friday the same time.
On both occasions he's had a substantional meal.
We didn't get back from out annual holiday until 12am Thursday morning, they were at school Thursday morning (slept on plane and in car, so had their full 12 hours) and yet I still gave them homemade steak and mushroom pie, with mash and broccoli and cauliflower and carrots.
Today they have eaten even tho we haven't been in the house from 8am ad don't get in till 7pm, they have had tiger bread in slow cooker ham and with homemade coleslaw and corn on the cob and pea pods. (Boys love them).
The whole people might not have time, because they have after school club etc... Is to me a cop out, because my children's nutritional needs come before a tennis match etc...
If its important to you, you make time for it and plan ahead.
My boys have different food needs, so food for us is important, especially for ds1 diabetics controlled food, and ds2 life threatening food allergies.
However I want them to lead normal lives, so in order to do this, we plan meal, for our children's needs, bit the activities needs that the children are attending.
And btw, phantom, I think you are looking for validation on the sandwich-as-an-evening meal front. No-one I know (in multiple sets of parents) has or ever would serve a sandwich as an evening meal.
I do angst about what to feed visiting children.
My most day was with a child I knew to be fussy but I'd discreetly talked to his mother to make sure he'd be catered for.
The pizza was All Wrong. I made him a jam sandwich. I've never seen a child look so relieved.
Oh, I do agree it's laziness/a cop out to some extent , I meal plan and shop accordingly- we have quicker but still nutritious meals on the days we are in late/back out again, and I cook and freeze for quick dinners. We don't do bought ready made meals at all because DD cant have gluten.
But I still think its OK not to have 2 cooked dinner-type meals a day as long as the diet is balanced.
If you are so worried about nutrition and your children are so ravenous all the time then school dinners must be an utter waste of time. That being the case I don't think anybody has any room to be smug about providing 2 cooked meals a day for their child. Why do you waste you money on crappy school lunches if you then have to provide a cooked meal in the evening? It is madness. Make them a decent packed lunch (or better still get them to make it themselves if they are old enough) and save your money and save your children from second rate food.
There is nothing wrong with a packed lunch or a cold tea - nobody 'needs' 2 hot meals a day. I don't see either of those being any worse than some of the meals so many of you are quick to call inadequate .
Mine have packed lunches and a hot tea. They are never 'ravenous' but they enjoy and eat the meals that are provided with a perfectly healthy appetite. Maybe some of you should be thinking of doing the same and then your children wouldn't be going hungry.
That's exactly what I said big
What is the point? You can't say you care so badly about your child's nutrition that you provide two hot meals a day and then feed them the school shit. It just doesn't add up.
More practically, the OP asked what others served up for evening meals. So here is my list.
Monday - Chicken Fajitas - preparation time 10 mins.
Tuesday - Carbonara - preparation time 10 mins (the pasta was bought and not homemade). We were all late home so the DCs ate a lot of fruit and toast before dinner was served at 7.30
Wednesday - Sausages 'n' mash. They were in fairness naice sausages, and they were served with multiple veggies (cabbage and peas and carrots). Preparation time 15 mins
Thursday - Slow cooked chilli - did all the prep in the morning and stuck it in the slow cooker. Worked well as DS had rugby practice (arrived back at 7pm) and DD had netball practice (arrived back at 8.30 pm) and I was spending the day working in Amsterdam (arrived back at 9 pm).
Friday - Mushroom Risotto but was just me and DD as DH and DS are both out and not back until late. Preparation time 15 mins. Mucho gossip about DD's latest squeeze. Friend arrived to 'help' us finish the risotto.
No sandwiches. All lovely meals cooked in very short time without any need to resort to sandwiches or ready meals.
I wonder where the "holiness" of hot food originates? I would think that it comes, probably, from when not everyone had facilities to cook, so hot food was rarer and more appreciated. Also, of course, central heating didn't exist and houses were cold. Some ingredients used to be stored in a way that required cooking (drying, etc.), or were going off, but the bad taste could be disguised in hot food as pies and stews, so they didn't have to be thrown away. None of those problems exist now. But I guess it's an easy way to gauge parental "effort", thus cookers calling occasional non-cookers "lazy", and feel better about one's parenting.
Some people need to have meat at every meal to feel satisfied - some need the food to be warm. Others (like me, dh and ds) do not particularly care, so have an occasional day free from cooking. Good raw ingredients make an excellent and nutritious meal. Cooking sometimes reduces nutrients. As long as a family is well nourished, happy and satisfied, does it matter if tea is a piece of wholemeal seeded bread with cheese, tomato and basil, or a cheese and tomato pizza? People fancy different things and value different things. For me food is fuel for life, not something to tie yourself in knots about.
It probably depends on your children's appetite and also things like time of year. In the summer, I might easily have a sandwich for lunch and then a big salad with bits and bobs for dinner - so two cold meals. But for the rest of the year I would often have soup / leftovers for lunch and a hot meal in the evening - so two hot meals. As long as there is a balance of nutrition over the day/week, there's no problem.
I find the hot/cold thing really strange. As far as nutrition goes, you're much better off eating most vegies raw, and while a hot meal is comforting if you're freezing, I'd assume more often than not the people posting on these threads are eating their dinner inside their heated homes. Where I'm from you just eat what you feel like, regardless of what temperature your other meals of the day were or what temperature it is outside. I do remember my grandparents having a thing about hot food being a meal and cold food being a snack, didn't matter if the hot food contained 200 calories and the cold food contained 2000, but I just assumed that was their own personal weirdness. Guess not!
However, I do find it odd what passes for a 'good meal' in Britain. I would consider a ham and cheese sandwich, beans on toast, plain jacket potato etc. 'can't be fucked' foods, along the same lines as 2 minute noodles. I'm not judging, I eat like that at least once a week because I can't be bothered making something better for myself or because I fed the DC all the healthy stuff left in the fridge, but I know it's a million miles away from ideal.
For me a decent cold dinner would be a big salad with lots of vegies (not just salad leaves), cheese and some form of protein (chicken, chickpeas, lentils). Or some healthy dips, small amount of pita or turkish bread, lot's of raw vegies for dipping, some cheese, maybe a boiled egg and/or some cold meats. Or a big salad sandwich made with naice bread, absolutely brimming with veg. Maybe a cold slice of leftover roast vegie quiche/slice with some salad on the side. None of these meals take long to plate up and you can prepare them in advance, it's just a matter of having access to plenty of veg. It usually takes me a maximum of 5 minutes to put those sorts of meals together for a few people, so still quicker than cooking.
Whatever I'm eating or giving the DC, hot or cold, one meal or lot's of smaller bits and pieces on a plate, generally I'd want to get at least 2, hopefully more like 3-4 serves of fresh veg in at dinner, and if I or they were eating an average British school dinner or the equivalent for lunch, that would become really important because I wouldn't count whatever stodgy potato mess was being served that day as a serve of veg.
At the risk of sounding eeh when I were a lass...
When I were a lass growing up in the 60s and early 70s we had a hot lunch - main and pudding every day at school, and a cooked meal at night, but no pudding. Portions were a good size. This was entirely usual. We were whippet-thin.
One thing, though, we were on a low income, so never any biscuits or soft drinks except at Christmas. This might well explain the big meals yet slim children.
Mine are having 2 school meals a week, they get a full meal (I get to choose they're 'veg' items) and a pudding and can have an extra helping if they like. No way will I be giving them a cooked meal in the evening too! Boiled egg and soldiers, beans and cheese or porridge and banana will be their options!
Kmc111, I get that you don't get it.
But you see food in terms of calories and vitamins.
Wheras I see food as something tasty and enjoyable.
Surely, cold quiche and dome raw veg would "do the job", but A hot meal go me is more satisfying and delicious.
Yesterday we all had steak, chips and green beans gor dinner, to me that is nicer than a cold snacky meal. Not healthier, not better, but nicer.
I agree there's not a lot of logic to what the dcs (and us) "count" as a meal. e.g.
veg soup +bread = meal
plate of raw veg = not a meal
beans on toast=meal
peanut butter on toast=not a meal
I don't understand this thread. Why do the children get a different meal to the rest of the family. I expect mine would be cross if we sat down to dinner and dh and I had lasagne and freshly baked bread and they had a cheese sandwich. Isn't preparing two separate eveningmmeals more hassle and cost than eating together? I certainly wouldn't want a cheese sandwich for my dinner. Having a two or three course meal of appetising food is the norm in my background and we don't believe in snacking except one gouter after school.
My son gets a hot meal every evening. He is 10 now and usually eats everything at lunchtime but after school he often goes out to play for 2 hours so is hungry because of that combined with school. When he was younger, I couldn't guarantee that he had eaten everything so it was important to me that he had a decent dinner.
I think a cold dinner of sandwiches or such like one or two nights a week seems OK. I wouldn't do it but we all have different situations so not for me to judge but surely making absolutely sure that your kids get and eat nutritious meals trumps the convenience of making sandwiches each night.
My DS has a very small appetite and can come home from school after only eating half of a half of a sandwich. The point is in a school setting nobody will police how much your child is actually eating but if you provide the main hot meal you know exactly what and how much your child is eating on a daily basis
Wuldric - well done you for cooking a hot dinner every night but sandwiches and cold meals are definitely not a last resort as you keep saying. Hot meals are not necessarily better that sandwiches and when you hear, or have seen first hand as I have, how bad school meals are, then your 2 hot meals a day seem don't seem so great. The cooked meal in the evening is a way of making up for the fact that your children are not being properly fed at lunchtime. If the school lunches were worth eating your children wouldn't need more hot food. To me, and probably everybody else who takes the trouble to make a packed lunch or a decent cold tea, getting your children to suffer school lunches when you know they don't satisfy their children is the lazy thing to do. I don't think you, or people like you, have any room to be quite so smug as you are coming across.
I've always cooked for my DC in the evening, unless we are rushing off somewhere. Not because of nutrition but because I consider it really important that DC see and respect food and cooking. School lunches however good are prepared for a cleaned up out of sight. I wanted food and cookin to be far more intergral in our lives IYSWIM.
Can I ask how to make risotto in 15 mins? We make it a lot but risotto rice takes 35 mins to cook alone. Do you have a super quick cooking risotto rice brand?
applebread - in our case at least, the children only get a different meal if they are eating at a different time - so if I am home early and DH is late, I will feed DD at 6:45pm, for 7:30pm bedtime, DS when he gets in at 7:40pm for ASAP bedtime and then DH and I will eat whenever he gets home.
If we eat together, we eat the same thing.
applebread: Have replied on your thread of a thread.
Waldric - I think if there are two working parents getting home tired at the end of a long day, it is very tempting not to cook. The temptation is to get a ready meal out or to do a sandwich. But I think we all know this is a product of tiredness/laziness. Sandwiches are not that appetizing. As an evening meal they are a pretty horrid solution really
That is a hugely judgemental statement, sandwiches might not be to your taste but a lot of people enjoy eating sandwiches.
My meal of choice is sandwiches, (or 'naice' bread and cheese) with salad/fruit/yogurt - that sort of thing. DH and DS also enjoy that sort of food. I am a SAHM so I have plenty of time to cook, I enjoy cooking but I don't particularly want to eat 'proper dinners' every night.
As has been said, numerous times on this thread, nutritious food does not have to be hot.
I am another one from the era when going to tea with a friend after school meant sandwiches and cake. .
My DCs eat school lunches because there is no packed lunch option. Not in any event that I would pack one for them (not being a great believer in sandwiches). Their lunch options look pretty good actually.
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