To think it's absolutely ridiculous that parents can't choose their own children's lunch?

(126 Posts)
annabanana84 Thu 26-Sep-13 08:37:30

I've read a few threads on here now where parents have been told they can't put chocolate/fizzy pop/whatever the fuck they want into their childrens lunchboxes. Am I alone in thinking this is absolutely absurd? Why on earth is the school taking away the parents choice? I remember once a week, as a treat, I would be sent with jam butties, a packet of crisps, a kit kat and a panda pop cherryade, and the school didn't bat an eyelid. Why do schools feel they have to do this, I wonder?

BuntyPenfold Thu 26-Sep-13 08:46:39

Because some families are reckoned to need more guidance, the obesity crisis and all that.

I feel strongly that the schools need better role models, since an enormously obese MTA told my very thin DS not to eat his crisps. Can't they hear the Year 6 giggling?

skyeskyeskye Thu 26-Sep-13 08:47:47

Sorry, but I agree with schools doing this, because they have a duty to promote healthy eating. They teach it in lessons and in our school they grow their own veg and cook it and eat it at Harvest Festival time.

Children do not need to eat sweets and chocolate and crisps every day of the week for their school dinner and some parents do not have the sense to realise that. Some people think it is ok to stuff them with junk every day.

Also, as pointed out on the other threads, sweets can have an adverse affect on some children's behaviour therefore they should not eat them for dinner as they could be hyper all afternoon.

I really don't see that it is a great hardship for children to have to wait until after 4pm before you can give them some sweets if you want to.

redexpat Thu 26-Sep-13 08:51:04

Because although you had reasonable parents, that is sadly not the case for all children. There really are parents who send their children to school with a chocolate bar and nothing else. It's another form of child protection.

livinginwonderland Thu 26-Sep-13 08:52:30

Because there are parents who would send their kids in with a bag of crisps, some sweets and a bar of chocolate everyday if it wasn't for these guidelines. You can still give them whatever you want at home!

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 26-Sep-13 08:53:02

Because some parents have no concept of healthy eating or what constitutes lunch.

SoupDragon Thu 26-Sep-13 08:53:41

Why do schools feel they have to do this, I wonder?

Because some parents are thick and some children are therefore vulnerable.

ubik Thu 26-Sep-13 08:53:53

aye they have duty to promote healthy eating...until the private company doing the catering starts flogging double choc muffins to the kids at break time and stops the children setting up their own tuck shop Schools seem to wash their hands of 'healthy' at that point.

ClaraOswald Thu 26-Sep-13 08:54:23

Because there obviously enough parents who don't actually care what they shove in to the kids lunch boxes that this interference is deemed necessary.

There are plenty of instances where some children would have brought a pack of chocolate biscuits for Lunch. Every day.

Fizzy pop is not appropriate for children to have regularly. Anyone really, not just children. Same goes for crisps, chocolate and sweet sandwiches.

How is the human race supposed to make decent choices about eating healthily if they are not educated about doing so?

It is nothing new by the way- for at least the last ten years I would say the majority of schools have had some form of guidelines for packed lunches and have monitored them as well.

Davsmum Thu 26-Sep-13 08:54:55

I agree skyeskyeskye,

Chocolate and fizzy pop and crisps is not a lunch - and kids don't 'need' them. Surely lunch should be something with nutritional value and be healthy.
Course you get the parents who will say their kids 'won't' eat anything else and they 'have to eat something'

pianodoodle Thu 26-Sep-13 08:59:07

I don't like it either seems patronising to sensible folk.

I suppose the rule's there for the benefit of kids with dopey parents though, so if it helps them it's worth it.

StanleyLambchop Thu 26-Sep-13 08:59:38

Have you seen the staff room though? Ours is packed full of cake & chocolate- the staff need to set a better example.

Also, you find promoting healthy eating goes out the window when they want to raise money and so have weekly cake sales!

Our school menu also consists of a stodgy pudding with custard- everyday! Why is sweets once a week any worse?

our school has minimal rules, they only ask that we send no fizzy drinks and no sweets.
I can live with that, they don't get sweets for lunch at home either and fizzy drinks only if we are out usually
I wouldn't care if they banned chocolate too. They can eat crap as much as they like the rest of the time if that's what you choose.

TimeAgainForWellies Thu 26-Sep-13 09:01:43

I am all over the place on this one. i agree that a once in a week treat is a good thing- I used to live for Friday's when i was allowed a chocolate bar, but equally i agree with the other posters who say that alot of parents simply do not know what is a healthy lunch, or who do not care. When i was settling DC2 into pre-school i stayed for the morning and was pretty horrified at some of the packed lunches- literally a chocolate bar and a pack of quavers for one little 3 year ol girl. Our pre-school 'recommends' but does not prohibit.

Mind you... my Dcs get an alpro chocolate soy pudding for lunchtime dessert every day so perhaps I am not one to talk......

nonmifairidere Thu 26-Sep-13 09:06:03

Yes, what idiots they are. Everyone knows that a sugar and salt filled, fibre free diet is optimum for healthy child development and establishing a healthy attitude to diet in adult life.

pinkdelight Thu 26-Sep-13 09:06:47

"Because some parents are thick and some children are therefore vulnerable."

Sadly, SoupDragon has it. Who do you think is feeding the overweight kids shit food? It's irrelevant what you had in your packed lunch as a kid. Just because you had an enlightened caring parent, doesn't mean everyone does. Frankly I think it's bonkers to have sweets at lunchtime.

havingamadmoment Thu 26-Sep-13 09:08:43

I normally send an "OK" lunch. They have fruit etc but the often have crisps as well. I have never been told they are not allowed crisps but one year on dds birthday I put a slice of birthday cake in her box and it was taken off her. I know she had some at home but I just wanted to give her a nice little treat!

You can treat your children at home and on weekends. That's what I do. Loads of parents don't know what a healthy lunchbox should look like and need guidelines. They can hardly say that the guidelines only apply to ignorant parents, so they apply to all. Fine by me and if DS had packed lunches I'd abide by them.

The silly thing though is that children on school dinners have pudding every day. This week DS has had chocolate pudding and custard, and flapjack as two examples. I doubt the packed lunches would be allowed to contain similar.

TimeAgainForWellies Thu 26-Sep-13 09:11:47

True about the school dinner desserts. At our pre-school they have things liked 'iced cinnamon buns' and 'chocolate cookies' every single day.

angelos02 Thu 26-Sep-13 09:11:53

Because somewhere down the line people forgot that schools/teachers are there to teach & that is all. Now schools are expected to provide breakfast clubs, show children how to use a knife & fork etc etc.

fuzzpig Thu 26-Sep-13 09:33:40

YABU, I think basic rules like no chocolate, no sweets, no fizzy drinks are essential.

I am curious though as to what the free meals for infants will look like as we will have 2 years of this (DS just started reception) - I'd be grateful to save money and for a hot meal, but if it's not as healthy as what I could provide in a lunch box, is it going to be worth it... hmm.

FWIW, DH and I agreed to make more effort with the contents of our DCs' lunch boxes, and stop putting in stuff like cheestrings, peperami, crisps, mini cheddars, cereal bars etc which we had been using as time savers. I thought the DCs would complain but they haven't even noticed that we've stopped buying stuff like that, and don't say "but my friend jimmy has such and such" as I thought they would. They now get a sandwich/wrap/crackers with protein filling, a pot of veg, a pot of fruit, a frube and a bottle of water. Now they eat it all whereas when we were putting the extras in, they'd be eaten first and the healthy stuff would come home uneaten.

They get snacky treaty things at home and don't miss it at school.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 26-Sep-13 09:40:13

Now schools are expected to provide breakfast clubs, show children how to use a knife & fork etc etc

Wtf is wrong with breakfast clubs? Some of us have to be at work at 7am.

MummyPig24 Thu 26-Sep-13 09:45:19

I agree with the packed lunch rules. Feed your kids whatever crap you (general you) want but at least they will get a healthy lunch if parents follow these rules.

Some families need guidance when it comes to nutrition and schools are trying to help. There is no harm in that. Do kids really NEED chocolate/crisps/pop for lunch?


My DS has a healthy packed lunch despite eating a very limited amount of foods. I am often surprised when I help out at school over the sheer volume of the packed lunch, and the absolute junk packed into them. Some parents either don't know or aren't bothered and so the school have to step in.

DeWe Thu 26-Sep-13 09:54:33

But it's also so you don't get at home:
"It's not fair X ALWAYS has sweets in her lunch. EVERYONE else has crisps and I'm the ONLY one who doesn't have a fizzy drink..."

Davsmum Thu 26-Sep-13 11:01:49

If parents give their kids crisps & fizzy drinks etc because they whinge that everyone else has them ..then more fool the parents! Falling for that!!

woodsies1975 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:11:14

Having been into school at lunchtimes to observe (as a Governor) I was sad to see some of the kids' lunchboxes. After a bit of a push on them by the school office, I am pleased that most of them now are in receipt of free school meals and get a healthy balanced meal (in the main, sometimes things go wrong and the veg is served almost raw etc, but in the main it works). Previous posters are right, while lots of parents know what is healthy and filling for a lunchbox, some don't, and in these cases it's easier for schools to have a blanket approach to what's allowed and what's not. I do sometimes try and sneak a little treat in under the radar, like on my DD's birthday I put a pack of Hula Hoops in, and that was the day they did a "lunchbox audit" and my DD got a letter home, she was distraught. Hey ho!

OldSchoolMamma Thu 26-Sep-13 11:16:41

My DD is healthy and very sporty/outdoorsy. I hate the fact that people think they can tell me what to feed my own child. It's not my fault that some parents don't have a brain between them. Why should better parents be dictated too. Target the feckless, lazy parents - not the ones who actually give a shit and know the importance of variety and that too much of one thing is a bad thing.

SoupDragon Thu 26-Sep-13 11:18:55

Target the feckless, lazy parents

How do you propose they do that?

BuskersCat Thu 26-Sep-13 11:21:25

I will stop giving DD cake at lunch, when they stop serving it in their dinners!

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 11:21:59

After having to wash out a child's lunchbox everyday as we discovered mouldy food in there - pre healthy schools, plus said child always had two sausages in there. Everyday. Nothing else. I think it's a necessary evil.

I won't go into the other interesting lunchbox choices that I've seen as it'll take too long but some parents have no clue about nutrition.

I overheard my mil saying to my two year old to stop asking for fruit, (he wanted another banana) have a packet of crisps if you're still hungry. She couldn't see anything wrong with what she'd said.

littlemisswise Thu 26-Sep-13 11:23:21

They can't just target one group of parents. How would they do it, and it wouldn't be fair.

It's only one meal a day, if you want your child to eat crap there's lots of other meals and loads more time in the day they can do it at home.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 11:27:21

I think there's a big difference between homemade pudding with natural ingredients and shop bought pudding, full of added chemicals.

To me, school's puddings should be totally homemade, but some have a fair way to go yet.

OldSchoolMamma Thu 26-Sep-13 11:28:18

SoupDragon, Teachers could have a walk around at lunch time to see what lunches kids are actually eating, When you find an appalling lunch box - contact the parent. Make them understand their child's lunch is not acceptable = handle it from there.

That would probably be too much effort though - so lets punish ALL parents with lunchbox police to confiscate small items like the odd bar of chocolate and bag of crisps.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 26-Sep-13 11:31:32

I know that some children would only bring crap in if left to some parents, but I do object to being ruled by people I don't know who seemingly know best.

SoupDragon Thu 26-Sep-13 11:32:39

When you find an appalling lunch box - contact the parent. Make them understand their child's lunch is not acceptable = handle it from there.

So how does that only target the feckless and lazy parents?

OldSchoolMamma Thu 26-Sep-13 11:34:13

Well there is usually a link between lunch boxes filled with shit and parents who don't give a shit.

SoupDragon Thu 26-Sep-13 11:34:24

It "targets" anyone who has sent their child in with something deemed unacceptable. Rather like the current system.

Incidentally, DDs primary has no lunchbox rules.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 11:38:24

It's very hard to reason with someone about their food choices if they see others are allowed to though. Sustained targeting could come across as bullish, causing the person you're trying to help to withdraw.

If it was as simple as just telling someone, then doctors would have solved the obesity crisis with a chat to their obese patients.

Yes, schools need to improve but many in this country have a strange relationship with food. There's a difference between eating to lose weight and eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

I've put on a lot of weight in my two close pregnancies as I had problems which made me immobile. I found myself looking at crash diets etc to sort it out, until I had I had a stern word with myself. Healthy eating is what I should be, and am doing but we get warped by advertising and the like.

sashh Thu 26-Sep-13 11:38:47

Why on earth is the school taking away the parents choice?

As has already been said some parents are thick.

Others just don't care.

Also think of the teachers, would you like to teach 30 7 year olds who have had nothing but carbs for lunch so they get an energy rush for 20 mins then crash.

I once looked after an 1 year old who was amazed that I could make mash, he didn't realise it was made from potatoes, he thought it only came in packets.

OldSchoolMamma Thu 26-Sep-13 11:38:59

I'm not talking about the odd chocolate bar or packet of crisps - I'm on about parents filling their kids lunch box with utter rubbish with no healthy stuff whatsoever. That's who the school should be "targeting"

SoupDragon Thu 26-Sep-13 11:39:27

Perhaps their children are sporty and outdoorsy and eat only healthy stuff at home.

ilovesooty Thu 26-Sep-13 11:39:36

The lunch break is not part of a teacher's working day so remarks about it being too much effort are inappropriate.
Anyone would think staff who have opted into lunch duty or SMT enjoy lunch box checks.

Tryharder Thu 26-Sep-13 11:41:29

LOL at the MIL not wanting her DGS to eat too much fruit. I'm guessing your MIL is a post war baby. My mother is exactly the same. Too much fruit is Bad according to my mum. It makes you go to the toilet too many times apparently.

choceyes Thu 26-Sep-13 11:43:33

DS's primary doesn't have any lunchbox rules either. He is moving to packed lunches from next week as I'm finding the school dinners are of dubious quality and is followed by cake and custard everyday.
I think I'd prefer if there were lunch box rules, as I don't want DS to think he is being deprived if he doesn't have chocolate with his lunch, like some other children.

lifeishunkydory Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:38

I wouldn't mind the rules as much if the school dinners that are the alternative were not so poor in nutritional content, DC 2 an 3 frequently told me that they had chips, pizza, breaded fish/chicken. DS2 is a very "hungry" child, he eats a lot more than my other children but is not overweight. When I mentioned that he was still hungry after school dinners I was told that I did put rather a lot in his lunchbox (when he was on packed lunches) and that he should just get some more salad from the salad bar! Yes because salad is well known for being a high calorific, slow release food that will keep him sustained for the rest of the day confused. Needless to say we went back onto packed lunches quickly.

I am not sure if I do put a lot in their lunches but it is usually all eaten, today they went with a pot of strawberries and blue berries, a pot of sugar snaps and carrot stick, a pot of plain popcorn, a peanut butter (no aded sugar)wrap, a piece of homemade carrot and banana cake and a drink. I feel that this is an ok balance, I know there could be a bit more "tweeking" but I strongly beleive that young children who are not overweight and undertake a fair ammount of physical activity should have a diet that isnot only high in fibre and protien but also contains an adequate ammount of fat and have been very unimpressed with the information coming out of the school that suggests that I should use low fat dairy products and products laiden with atrificail sweetners instead.

TimeAgainForWellies Thu 26-Sep-13 12:00:42

I think that packed lunch is really good, Life. I am amazed you are allowed peanut butter though, as we have a total ban on it. But your lunch has plant proteins, carbs, vegetables, fruit and fat. All good stuff for growing children! Our school lunches are really good quality so I feel very happy buying them, but the desserts are always shop bought iced things which does bother me. The main part though is usually really fantastic- things like spicy chickpea and courgette fritters, and they do a really good fish pie every Friday.

I can see both sides tbh. I mean I send dd in with a home made muffin once a week and no ones ever said anything out school states no sweets no chocolate bars and no nuts and requests we don't give processed stuff and crisps to often. Quite frankly the whole list is patronising but that's because I wouldn't send half the stuff in anyway. What annoys me is that we can't send nuts for allergy reasons even though they are good for you, but the suggested alternatives for nut free bars are the really sugary Kellogg's cereal ones and things like fruit winders. Makes no sense when they ban sweets and chocolates and serves cakey puddings daily with the school meals.

But, what's sadder is that they feel the need to provide these lists and frequency requests cod it should be common sense but isn't sad

doorkeeper Thu 26-Sep-13 12:12:04

I've got no problem with a primary school making restrictions on what can be in the lunchboxes. What they eat affects their behaviour, and their learning. I don't want my kid's class disrupted in the afternoon by another kid whose packed lunch consisted solely of a coke, a tube of pringles and a mars bar.

Sparrowp Thu 26-Sep-13 12:17:24

We had cream cakes every day for morning break, and a sponge pudding at lunch!

But we also had an hours walk to school every morning.

That was in the 90's, not the 1950s by the way.

PrincessScrumpy Thu 26-Sep-13 12:19:19

I can't see the issue but the rules don't affect me as I'd never put that kind of crap in dc's lunch box anyway. My DC do get years but at home and no fizzy drinks after my brothers teeth were ruined by Cola - at 28 he had to have them all capped as they were see through!

PrincessScrumpy Thu 26-Sep-13 12:20:04

Treats not years

MadeOfStarDust Thu 26-Sep-13 12:20:13

Parents still have a choice OP.... any child can be taken out of school for lunch.

If you want to keep feeding them crap, then take them home and do it...

The only problem I have with it is when what they serve is far worse than what they are banning. For instance two or three squares of plain chocolate along side a healthy lunch wouldn't be allowed. However high sugar yogurts, cereal bars with icing/yogurt and dried fruit wonder things are allowed and the school can serve flap jack and custard.

The requests need to make sense.

StanleyLambchop Thu 26-Sep-13 12:25:00

any child can be taken out of school for lunch.

Except my DCs school made it really difficult when I tried to take them home for lunch. Not all schools are the same!

I can absolutely see the logic in 'policing lunchboxes', however it does piss me off when I see the school dinners menu and they have daily desserts such as apple crumble and custard, viennese cookie and icecream etc. Surely there is far more sugar, fat and calories in that than a two finger kitkat I may want to add to DD's lunchbox as a treat once a week?

'Healthy' should not apply to lunch boxes only imo.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 12:27:05

Oh yes, re taking children home. Just after the healthy schools thing came in, and the school I was in had excellent homemade school lunches, a family took umbrage and started to take their dc 'home' regularly.

They were actually going to Mcdonalds, as their dc would come in and tell everyone what they had for lunch!

TheOrginalPoster Thu 26-Sep-13 12:30:14

There is nothing wrong with promoting and educating on healthy eating. It certainly makes us all more mindful of what our children eat.

However it is so over the top. Completely demonising certain types food is wrong too. I have seen people on here talking about fruit as if its poison which is just adsurd.

Why dont schools think of implementing "treat Fridays". Where for just one day a week the lunch boxes are more lax, the rest of the week being focused solely healthy choices. Im not suggesting children bring in last nights leftover pizza on treat Fridats, but maybe a small slice of cake after a healthy sandwich or salad.

I also think no child should ever be made to feel humilated, guilty or upset for what the parents have put up in the lunchbox. The parent alone should take the flack. It is the parents responsibility not the child's.

Ifcatshadthumbs Thu 26-Sep-13 12:30:55

My fondest memory of working in a school was the parent who brought in a happy meal everyday for her child. Unfortunately it was the tip of a very large iceberg

MadeOfStarDust Thu 26-Sep-13 12:38:29

But roundtable those parents have reserved the right to "feed their children what they want" not what the school rules... which is what some folks on these threads always seem to bang on about....

so good on them for sticking to their principles and making their lunchtime "time sacrifice" to see their principles through.... though they could have chosen better in my humble opinion, though who am I to judge...

and the school can make it difficult but (in England certainly) school consists of two daily sessions - one in the morning the other in the afternoon which the children should attend. In between is the hinterland of lunchtime....

the kids do not have to attend, the teachers do not have to attend, and the other interesting fact to consider is that because of this there are NO MINIMUM staffing levels over lunchtime other than stating "safety needs to be considered...."

ubik Thu 26-Sep-13 12:44:38

Mine always have school dinners. It's generally lentil soup/scotch broth, some sort of hoy meal: curry, pizza, burger, hot dog, steak pie, and then frozen yoghurt or jelly. Seems fine. portions are small though.

I'd rather they had a hot dinner than a packed lunch, it does seem healthier.

StanleyLambchop Thu 26-Sep-13 12:52:07

Why dont schools think of implementing "treat Fridays". Where for just one day a week the lunch boxes are more lax, the rest of the week being focused solely healthy choices. Im not suggesting children bring in last nights leftover pizza on treat Fridats, but maybe a small slice of cake after a healthy sandwich or salad.

Yes, why not. It would probably be more healthy than the fish fingers & chips that the school canteen serve up (supposedly 'hand made from scratch', but look suspiciously like Birds Eye!)

doorkeeper Thu 26-Sep-13 12:55:16

My kid's old primary school did do this - you weren't allowed crisps in your lunch box, except on Wednesdays, when you were.

Nanny0gg Thu 26-Sep-13 12:58:19

Some children are sent in with dreadful lunches because the parents don't have a clue/can't be bothered. But sometimes it is because the child has a very restricted diet because of food avoidance issues and the lunchbox may not be a 'healthy' as it should be in an ideal world. However, if the child is actually going to eat something you have to give them something they will actually eat.

And fizzy drinks are also banned because of the shocking mess they make when they explode spill.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 13:01:23

Personally Stardust, I feel that when a child is morbidly obese and needs to wear legging under their school dress otherwise they get sores from chafing; suffers from constipation/ diarrhoea and recurring stomachache then someone/people need to intervene.

The example I'm giving isn't a one off but I understand why people feel it's a bit ott, until they work in that environment usually.

BucketsnSpades Thu 26-Sep-13 13:02:20

I think in this day and age it must only be a small minority of parents who don't know the difference between healthy fresh food and less healthy packaged choices. But the fact is that healthy fresh food goes off really quickly, requires more preparation and it makes a big mess in the kitchen. Crisps come in handy one portion packs, as do fruit winders, cheese strings etc and they have long use by dates. I think the rules are great because they stop parents making a habit of using these junk food options.

Mrsc020987 Thu 26-Sep-13 13:02:30

Nope because some parents tell their children things like eating fruit every day will make you sick but sweets won't and there is no sugar in

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 13:09:19

The fruit thing is bizarre, some people get very upset by fruit consumption. Odd.

Tryharder said about mil being a postwar baby, you were right! It's interesting talking to my mum ,also a post war baby, about food. She's always struggled with her weight/healthy eating and she told me about remembering her gran/mum pouring liquid glucose on practically everything she ate. They were terrified of going hungry, a fat child was a healthy child to them. I think we're still affected by those post war feelings and it's going to take time to improve.

We always want things to change instantly as we're the generation of thing happening straight away but something's take time IMO.

StanleyLambchop Thu 26-Sep-13 13:09:56

Personally Stardust, I feel that when a child is morbidly obese and needs to wear legging under their school dress otherwise they get sores from chafing; suffers from constipation/ diarrhoea and recurring stomachache then someone/people need to intervene

Maybe. But then if the alternative is stodgy puddings and fish fingers from the school canteen then that will not help either. The schools need to be consistent with what they police- starting with their own offerings!

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 13:10:31

Excuse the spelling, autocorrect!

Nannyogg makes a good point. After three children who happily eat most things I have one who won't eat following a stomach problem a year or so ago.
He will eat dry crackers and fruit and yoghurt so in the days he won't eat the school dinners (he's just started) that's what he is going to get. Better he eats something than the nothing he's had on the few days he's refused the school dinner. He's tired enough after a full day without surviving on an empty stomach.
If he was a child who would only eat pizza and crisps then I would feed him pizza and crisps while we worked on it as at least then he's eating something.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 13:16:05

I agree Stanley. Fortunately the schools I'm referring to had excellent school lunches. Often frozen yogurts/fruit/yoghurt as puddings, huge salad bars, balanced lunches etc. Cakes weren't that often served.

Perhaps that's not the norm across the country?

zatyaballerina Thu 26-Sep-13 13:18:57

Anybody who gives their child chocolate, crisps and a can of coke for lunch deserves sterilisation a patronising lecture.

Insisting on healthy lunches means that junk feeder parents are forced to make up at least one non shit meal a day, it means the kids will get at least one meal that isn't horrific for their body, brain, teeth etc and by seeing all their classmates eating relatively healthily they learn that guzzling crap isn't normal or acceptable.

They should be equally strict on what meals are provided by the school too. No junk should mean just that.

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 26-Sep-13 13:23:05

My DDs tell me most of the other kids in their class bring crisps daily...others bring those shitty "fruit roll ups" which are nothing but sweets with fruit juice added.

This is a "naice" school in a "naice" I'm not sure the issue is only in parts of the country where people aren't well educated. The vast majority of parents in my DC school are proffesionals.

roundtable Thu 26-Sep-13 13:24:29

Zatya, I think that's a bit harsh. Most parents are trying to do the best they can, with the knowledge they have.

Education is the key and that doesn't happen overnight.

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 26-Sep-13 13:25:57

Ubik hot dogs, burgers and jelly is not healthier than wholemeal sandwiches or pasta with some fresh fruit.

IneedAyoniNickname Thu 26-Sep-13 13:36:32

A couple of years ago I'd have agreed with the op. Then I started helping on school trips....

The first one I went on a child had a cheeseburger and chips, still in a polystyrene box. Apparently his mum bought an extra one when she got the dinner the night before specially sad

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 26-Sep-13 13:40:16

As a children's nurse I'm fully aware that some parents don't have a clue about their children's diet.

I had a four year old once who weighed seven stone! Purely from diet!

We have obese children whose parents tell us they don't understand why their children are so big, and then proceed to open their bags to find them stuffed with junk food. Their bedside lockers are filled with crisps, they buy them snacks constantly.

We have physio's who run exercise classes for obese children, and are trying to educate parents regarding diet and also target pregnant women so they are aware of a healthy diet for their future children.

Surely this is why teachers need to keep an eye on children's lunch boxes? Some parents don't have a clue.

ShoeWhore Thu 26-Sep-13 13:49:34

I agree with the lunchbox rules.

Apart from anything else, too much junk at lunchtime will give the children a short-lived fix of sugar followed by a slump. This does not set them up well for an afternoon of learning.

I too was concerned at all the puddings featured in school dinners but I was reassured that they are homemade and usually made with either fruit and/or yoghurt and less sugar than normal. So healthier versions I suppose.

By the way I am ancient but my primary school had similar rules 30 years ago. This is nothing new.

5Foot5 Thu 26-Sep-13 13:54:31


I accept that some parents will send their kids in with unhealthy shit for lunch but I don't accept that this means the school can impose rigid guidelines on the rest of the parents who make more of an effort.

All that seems to lead to is lunch box police showing no common sense and confiscating the odd chocolate biscuit in an otherwise perfectly healthy packed lunch.

With regards to the lower sugar lower salt/fat foods served etc, does anyone not remember that programme that followed a journalist living off that kind of diet food. She actually gained three pounds as a result of the food being less satisfying and eating more just trying to get the same level of enjoyment from it.

Lower sugar stuff may seem like a good idea but in some circumstances a smaller portion of the full flavoured version would be more satisfying and enjoyable than a massive slab of the reduced fat and sugar version. And if they use sweetners it's worse for them.

gordyslovesheep Thu 26-Sep-13 14:06:30

'treat' Fridays? that sounds like an early start to an unhealthy relationship with food.

I WISH our school would enforce it - mine nag me constantly for crisps and fizz and chocolate in their lunches and tell me it's 'not fair' I wont give them tat to eat

They have these at home but in school, without me checking, I know they don't JUST eat the rubbish

And if something's deemed unhealthy enough to have half the ingredients removed in order to make it "acceptable" then it has no place on a school menu. They should police their own food before they go over board on ours. I agree with no sweets and fizzy drinks as they are void if any nutritional benefit. BUT cakes and biscuits are a science, quantities have to be right on order for them to work, so if they are removing sugar then it would have to be replaced with something which may not even be better for the children.

I work a lot with First Nations people of Canada. Our indigenous people. We have lunch box police here too. One of them told me that her child had fallen foul of the lunch box police and she was told to bring in healthier food. Her mother said, "I shopped the outside of the store for the first time" with a big grin. It can work.

littlestgirlguide Thu 26-Sep-13 22:02:50

Our school says no nuts, no sweets, no chocolate bars (things like Penguin biscuits are ok, but no a Mars bar for example), and no fizzy drinks.
I do agree with basic rules, as not everyone knows what constitutes a scent lunch, but I've never heard of anything as daft as confiscating a slice of birthday cake from a child on her birthday! Ridiculous.
I've just prepared 4year old DD's packed lunch for tomorrow. She has got a pasta salad with cheese, cold sausage and cherry tomatoes, a petit filous, an apple, some dried apricots and a small chocolate fairy cake, home made by herself. I know it's low on veg, but her evening meal will be a vegetable casserole and rice so over the day I know it's balanced.
I don't see the point in treat days, to me that sounds like using unhealthy food as a reward which can't be a good thing. Children learn to see sugary, high fat food as desirable and as soon as the restrictions are lifted - when they are old enough to make their own food choices - they instinctively choose the food they have learnt to want but not been allowed.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 26-Sep-13 23:27:00

Yanbu. There's nothing at all wrong with the odd great given now and again. Schools are catering to the lowest common denominator which is a shame for the sensible but needs must, I guess.

primarymonkeyhanger Thu 26-Sep-13 23:32:27

My personal fave was the child that brought a cheese burger or kebab everyday from the takeaway her dad worked at and was leftover from dinner. Kids regularly have cold fishfinger sandwiches or potato smileys (fried bg mum each morning).
There is a clear need for limitations.
For the record school dinners are strictly monitored in terms of calorie/sugar/fat content.

Do people actually expect teachers yo police this though? Are we not entitled yo a break? Dont tell Gove he'll tske our lhnch break next!

Esker Thu 26-Sep-13 23:40:41

I would agree- if schools knew the first thing about nutrition. My school (am a secondary teacher) has all the usual bans on coke, sprite etc, but sell these bullshit 'acquajuice' things which can hardly be of greater nutritional value- full of sugar. No chocolate bars, but muffins the size of your head - apparently acceptable because bake on site. - No sense of portion control though. A cupcake size one would be fine, but seriously these things are enormous!
They serve salad, but its just a bunch of lettuce and tomatoes - no dressing- so how are kids supposed to learn that 'salad' can be an enjoyable meal in itself (eg with couscous and roast veg etc) rather than just a pile of watery leaves?hmm

Theodorakiss Fri 27-Sep-13 06:49:31

Its amazing we are alive at all after the 70s/80s diets most of us had.

I don't really give a fig about healthy eating, we just eat food. And we all love sugar, outside of the mini mummy Surrey bubble, in the real world, it's what people tend to do.

I know a shit feeder. They send their child to school with the appropriate lunch, which the child eats none of. Then when the child gets home, they eat all the shite they would have had for lunch if they were allowed. Just now they are hungry and eat loads more. So imo, I don't think policing lunches necessarily helps the people in need that it claims it is for.

I also have issues with schools passing on the wrong info, things like saying little children should have wholemeal bread and low fat. I'm half tempted to get a recognised nutrition qualification before mine get there! wink

Sunnysummer Fri 27-Sep-13 07:31:44

YABU. It can really help kids who might otherwise be sent with total junk, plus it saves naturally healthy-minded parents from forever being pestered for sweets and fizzy drinks.

I spent my childhood being deeply embarrassed by the healthy lunches that my Euro-hippy parents put together (tuna and pumpernickel bread, anyone?) and jealous of other kids with their mini chocolates and crisp packets, and am grateful that my DCs will not be repeating my own continual pestering for junk food!

But I don't think it does stop kids bringing in junk. When polices say no sweets or chocolate and nuts. They are still free to fill sandwiches full of marshmallow fluff, jam etc. And still free to send in most other crap their kid ears. They can't say no to a sausage roll when they are serving burger and chips. There's plenty of room for "crap" inside the guide lines stated.

BuntyPenfold Fri 27-Sep-13 09:13:36

They still bring in junk, very pricey junk too.
A jam sandwich and then packets of those fruit juice sweets, jelly sweets and fruit winders etc, and all much worse for their teeth than chocolate.

Last year one little boy would have 3 packets a day in his lunchbox of these sweets made with fruit juice, (and his mother is a teacher.)

cory Fri 27-Sep-13 09:47:11

I think it's reasonable that teachers don't want to teach the child whose lunch has consisted of a bag of Haribos. Always remember the time dh ran holiday activities for local children. One little dear grabbed a pick-axe and swung it round his head (strictly against instructions) and when he got bollocked cheerfully explained that "I always get hyper after eating x". Dh had to swallow very hard before tactfully inquiring if this might not be a good reason not to take x in his lunchbox. Teachers deal with this every day, and they have to provide an education not just ensure that they don't brain each other with pickaxes.

It's reasonable yes but it needs to also be consistent and make sense. I mean if nothing was said about a smartie cookie then theoretically you can't say anything about a tube of smarties. You can't say no chocolate spread, but allow choc sponge and chocolate sauce. You may write home to parents about that cold burger and chips in their kids lunch, but if said parent sliced up burger shoved it in a sandwich with a lettuce leaf and gave a bag of crisps and a customary carrot stick portion that the kid won't eat anyway, and that gets through. It's pretty much the same meal.

Smartiepants79 Fri 27-Sep-13 09:59:12

Oh great it's another one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't situations.

Schools get bashed for not eductating children about food choices, using sweets as rewards, allowing kids to hand out sweets on their birthdays..... I could go on!!

And now they are in the wrong for educating parents and children about food choices, encouraging healthy eating, not allowing sweets at lunch time.....
They can't really win can they?

These rules are sadly necessary because some parents need that guidance.
It may be due to lack of education. Sometimes it due to sheer bloody mindedness. 'Its my kid I can feed it what I like'
I've seen a lunch box that has just had a McDonald's happy meal stuffed into it! Don't tell me that parent doesn't need some rules about acceptables lunches for year olds.

Theodorakiss Fri 27-Sep-13 10:27:14

I am astounded how much time people spend analysing and competing at diets. It is quite boring really and life is too short

PeppiNephrine Fri 27-Sep-13 11:32:48

Really? You think its terrible that you're not allowed to send your child in with a lunch full of shit?
Do you also complain that they've taken the clothes choice away from you, and that they make them sit down at certain times?

Get over yourself or homeschool.

No I don't think its acceptable to send kids in with a shit lunch. But neither is it acceptable to have kids fed a shit lunch in school. Rules are fine but the school should abide by them too or no one will.

The point in trying to make is that with or without stipulations, parents will still serve crap if that's how they want to feed their kids. Banning sweets and chocolate will barely make a dent.

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 27-Sep-13 11:46:09

I would have an issue with common sense not being used.

For instance...every day, ds1s lunch is a wholemeal sandwich or Pitta (ham/cheese/tuna) and sometimes a boiled egg. He has a duo-compartment lunch box which has cucumber, pepper and carrot stick on one side and chopped fruit on the other, like grapes/oranges/melon. He then has a natural fruit yoghurt and bottle of no sugar squash.

He has this EVERY day. In addition to this, he will have one treat. Sometimes a cake or Jaffa cake bar. He also loves cereal bars and sometimes takes a tub of chocolate raisins. Occasionally he'll have a small packet of crisps.

If someone told me he had to cut this out I would be Furious.

Having an issue with a lunch box FULL of crap though...that's to be expected surely?

But a lunch box can contain everything that's allowed and still be crap. You can list acceptable foods but of someone chooses to send their kid in with sausage roll, cold pizza, cheese portion , carton of fruit juice and a yogurt, then what can u do? It's a shit lunch but nothing in it that isn't served at school or on banned list. (And no I wouldn't send that in in a million years) some people really need it spelling out but that can't be done without penalising everyone else who takes a sensible approach.

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 27-Sep-13 11:59:45

However caffeine, that sort of lunch is still preferable to a cheese stick, crisps, haribo and some guidelines (such as no fizzy drinks) are sensible.

Of course done guidelines are needed, but schools should be under no illusion that they see r making any difference in that sense. Unless you start dictating exactly what each day should contain, a bag of harribo will really be the least of their worries after all they are merely transferring the time of day that the kid gets them. Could just as easily be eating them on the way to school. And whereas I have no problem with not including sweets and fizzy drink as those are a very rare treat for my dc, I do have a problem with having to wade through a load of "suggestions" which are no bloody better than what they banned, and for my child to sit and watch the massive cookies and muffins the school meal children get whilst hoping no one says anything about the home made fruit and seed flap jack along side the fruit and veg in dds lunch bag.

For example yes a can of coke is sugary shit but there's more sugar in a fruit shoot in than in the equivalent amount of coke. That's the point about it needing to make sense. There is often more sugar in kids drinks than there is in fizzy yet only fizzy is banned.

And of course the fact that in separate components things don't get through, eg a pot of natural yogurt and a small serving of plain choc chips to mix in. But a dairy milk chocolate yogurt with the side portion of choc is allowed because nothing dictates what flavor yogurts are allowed.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 27-Sep-13 14:07:29

coke can be harmful to health... caffeine and phosphoric acid both prevent absorption of calcium, causing bone weakness. Because caffeine causes more calcium than usual to be excreted through urine it can contribute to kidney stones too....

Carbonic acid - the stuff that makes your tongue tingle in a fizzy drink - the acid made from the CO2 - is a major cause of dental enamel erosion in the Western world.

Sugar is not the only bad element of a fizzy drink - hence they are banned by most primary schools.

But the sweeteners in flavoured waters and kids drinks aren't good either. I'm not saying that fizzy drinks shouldn't be banned don't get me wrong, but surely people can see the flaws within the requests and how it very often doesn't make sense. It's been raised on here many a time that schools insist on fruit at break for example yet it's probably worse for them due to sugar spikes than slow release carbs fat and protein which they are not permitted to have as it has to be fruit. I'm just saying If things are going on to banned lists then the suggested alternatives need to be significantly "better" than what they are banning.

Nanny0gg Sat 28-Sep-13 10:24:31

I've seen a lunch box that has just had a McDonald's happy meal stuffed into it! Don't tell me that parent doesn't need some rules about acceptables lunches for year olds.

So talk to that parent!

ubik Sat 28-Sep-13 10:37:19

I think fruit smoothies have more sugar than coca cola and the acid will rot teeth.

We don't have juice fresh or diluting, at home or school, nor do we have fizzy drinks unless at party/ on holiday.

littlestgirlguide Sat 28-Sep-13 22:26:12

I do think that sometimes people lose the concept of balance in diet.
Most foods are not bad in moderation, as part of a balance diet. The odd chocolate bar, sausage roll or chocolate cookie will not kill you or make you fat as long as it is eaten as a part of diet rich in all the other necessary components. The occasional smoothie or can of coke will not, on it's own, make your teeth rotten.
Balance and moderation are key.

Smartiepants79 Sun 29-Sep-13 19:03:51

You can talk to thatparent but it is now considered to be very poor to single out particular families or children for any reason.
Just like I am not allowed to tell a particular parent that their child has head lice. Even though I've seen them in their hair with my own eyes. I have to inform all parents to check for them.
The rules have to be in place and enforced for all children or it is seen as discrimination.

That's where it's all bloody wrong. Can't see how assuming all parents are idiots and unable to feed and de-louse our children properly is less discriminatory than telling the relevant parents. They are more likely to act surely if they know people are on to them than hiding behind the crowds.

justmyview Sun 29-Sep-13 20:03:57

In principle, I'm in favour of lunchbox rules, but it's hypocritical if school are serving junk

I do understand the rules I just don't think that they are consistent enough as like you said the school still serves junk and parents still send in crap just presented differently so it gets through, despite still being junk.

fuzzpig Tue 01-Oct-13 09:01:54

Well I've just found out that thanks to a reduction in my hours (health reasons) my DCs are now entitled to free school meals. Am quite pleased as it will save some money of course and the time/energy (in short supply for me)... but will the dinners be healthy I wonder?

I was pleased that we'd got into a good habit with making healthy lunch boxes and the DCs were eating it all every day - not sure they will eat all of a hot meal especially my 4yo as he can be quite fussy.

Why don't you check out the menu and ask if you can poo in and see what the meals are like? Easiest way to find out smile

Poo? Ffs pop damn autocorrect

FreudiansSlipper Tue 01-Oct-13 09:05:52


would you really want to teach children who have had a lunch of sugar and additives

it has been proven children do better at school when they have eaten a balanced healthy lunch, their concentration of better. not all parents bother to give this to their children

fuzzpig Tue 01-Oct-13 09:22:12

grin caffeine

I'll look on the website - schools round here use an external company that bring in the meals. DD had them before and I remember them being fairly homey type stuff but a bit pasta heavy. DS doesn't eat much cooked veg so we've agreed to add extra cucumber/carrot sticks etc to evening meals.

Definitely worth going to see for yourself though. What appears on the menu isn't always what they get. And the "taster sessions" are their best work. You want to see what they actually serve. Also worth finding out if they pick and pre order or if it's pot luck on the day. There's been a few threads about kids living off chips and bread as they run out before the kid gets to the front.

hettienne Tue 01-Oct-13 09:27:53

I think some basic rules are fine - DS's school is very sensible and just says no fizzy drinks (some 4 year olds were being sent in with cans of red bull for example) and no sweets/chocolate. I'm sure some parents will still send in crap lunches, but at least it won't be a mars bar and a can of coke.

Schools that go to far and try to set nutritional guidelines they don't understand - no processed carbs, low fat, not cakes or whatever - should be ignored though.

geeandfeesmum Tue 01-Oct-13 10:25:33

This is what annoys me. So what if once a week, someone sends a bar of chocolate in their child's packed lunch. I don't think that the school have any right to dictate what we are feeding our children!!

If they want to be involved in these things, they should stick to teaching!! Perhaps, they could teach primary school children how to cook healthy food or even offer parents cooking sessions if they are that bothered.

If there are children that are being obviously underfed or overfed (and it is affecting their health) that is the only time a school should be allowed to comment on what we feed our children!!

Elsiequadrille Tue 01-Oct-13 10:43:26

I can kind of see why guidelines might be needed. Also recently heard of somebody going quite OTT in the 'healthy' direction and providing really quite an insubstantial pack lunch by consequence. I hope that sort of thing would be picked up on too.

Meh84 Tue 01-Oct-13 10:44:48

DS is at pre-school and they haven't got any rules as to what he's allowed to have in his lunch box. I remember the manager saying to me, 'If you want to give him 10 kitkats, then give him 10 kitkats!'

Not likely! It would seem we're in a place where parents understand how to balance out packed lunches and not give said child a packed of Haribo and a can of pop.

The other day...I gave him a bakewell tart as a treat! grin

hettienne Tue 01-Oct-13 10:50:49

It's no imposition to not give your child a bar of chocolate for lunch though - it's hardly cutting out a major food group! If you're desperate to give them chocolate/sweets just do it at 3.30pm.

Preciousbane Tue 01-Oct-13 11:06:46

When I was at school in the 1970's and very early 1980's there was one very overweight child in the entire school.

I live very close to a site with three schools on, a noticeable proportion of the dc are overweight, some just a little and some a lot.

I get the annoyance with the nanny state interfering. MN will have parents using it that are generally concerned parents whether about food, Sats or evil women on the PTA. We want to be informed and couch opinions. A few people always choose to ignore sage advice and that is why schools have lunchbox policies that are harsh. They are irritating but I do get it.

I know Xbox kind of activities are blamed on dc becoming overweight but I think the rise of car useage is more to blame. I had to walk a four mile round trip to school from the age of nine. My neighbour actually laughed when she realised I choose to walk the 1.5 miles in to our town centre and back unless doing a big shop.

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