Advanced search

To think that school dinners are better then packed lunch?

(63 Posts)
notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 14:37:18

I have 4 ds at school. per month I pay £28.50 for the eldest & the other 3 have school dinners on Fridays only. I am always nipping to the shop to get extras & snacking on pack lunch stuff at home. I'm thinking if I put them all on full time school dinners it would ease some stress, make us healthier & help me lose some weight. Although it would cost me an extra £24.60 a week. I think I'd save that on extra shopping runs?

notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 14:38:48

Also they all have chefs in their school so get really good meals but sounds alot of money!hmm

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Mon 31-Dec-12 14:40:28

My son's school has regular 'bring your parents for dinner' events and I'm appalled at the quality of school dinners, they're quite disgusting with a severe lack of vegetables. I'd rather spend £2.10 per day on packed lunch and then at least I know he's getting something half decent to eat.

EuphemiaInExcelsis Mon 31-Dec-12 14:40:36

It would be interesting to do a proper costing!

I wish DD would have school dinners! But then again I have to make myself a packed lunch, so I'm as well doing her one as well.

From what I have seen of many children's packed lunches, school dinners are certainly much healthier!

daisydee43 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:07

Definitely! It's so easy to spend £30 each time you pop to the tesco express that you would save a fortune. Packed lunches are not only boring to make but stressful to shop for. School meals have to be healthy now so probably more nutritious than a sandwich and yes I bet you will lose weight.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:20

£28.50 per month sounds like excellent value for money if the food is as good as you say. That isn't to say I think a school dinner is better than a packed lunch.

FestiveElement Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:57

It's impossible to say whether packed lunches or school dinners are better, that depends entirely on what goes into a packed lunch. I sometimes work school dinner times and children sometimes don't like the school dinners that their parents have put them down for, so they end up with whatever can be scrabbled together for them. I've also seen some appealing packed lunches from parents.

BackforGood Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:59

Depends on lots of things really.
Mine all have school dinners, and it works for us for lots of reasons - including the fact their dinners are really nice, and they get a proper meal, of their choice (from 3) every day. I suppose there will be folk on here who will tell you they can make packed lunches for a lot less, but the £1.95 (Primary) and £2.10 (Secondary) a day I give my dcs is money well spent, IMO. Also means there are nights when we don't always have a ful "cooked meal" at home, and I'm safe in the knowledged they've had a good feed at school so it's not an issue.

notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 14:43:34

It's a shame when schools don't get it right but my ds' school even makes their own bread! I know they will get a variety & will fill them up but I don't know if I can justify the expense.

TapselteerieO Mon 31-Dec-12 14:47:51

They might be better but my dc refuse to have them and £20 a week is more than the cost of packed lunch (which is v boring but what they will eat).

Bagel (plain or with cheese no butter) or cinnamon & raisin (plain or with butter and jam) - bagels bought on offer then frozen.
Parmesan (both dc)
Two pieces of fruit
A very small biscuit/home made cake

Hardly ever varies (sometimes one will have a ham sandwich or one will have some lidless salami) - if they want something different I will get it. We eat as a family and they have a cooked meal at home every day.

notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 14:48:17

They usually have a sandwich either ham, ham & cheese, tuna or just cheese. a piece of fruit or fruit swirl, frube, caprisun, cheese string ( when i can afford ) & a snack bar. They all like different things & I normally end up doing it at midnight!

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 31-Dec-12 14:48:32

I don't get your reasoning really.

Surely you'd just buy enough for their lunchboxes at the start of the week and stop eating their food yourself?

DragonMamma Mon 31-Dec-12 14:49:13


Sounds really good value for money. My DD (5) has school dinners 4 days a week and I'd prefer her to have them every day but her best friend has a packed lunch and she wanted to sit with the packed lunch kids now and again.

She's never complained about them and they have a nice variety of things to choose from. Some of the combinations have made me raise an eyebrow - pizza, mash and salad is always one that I cannot get my head around but generally they seem very 'normal' in their offerings and they don't run out of things.

peanutMD Mon 31-Dec-12 14:49:17

My sons school offer free meals to all pupils as an inclusion scheme to avoid bullying of those with dinner tickets etc which used to be a problem.

However my son is very determined to eat only a few foods so we have to give him a packed lunch everyday (and not a particularly healthy one at that sad) ehich obviously costs us more.

Each child is different but I would personally rather he ate a decent hot meal.

notwoo Mon 31-Dec-12 14:49:17

I think it sounds well worth it not to have to make packed lunches!
I always think it's better to have a hot meal at lunch time, especially in the winter.
Give it a go and reassess at Easter?

Bobyan Mon 31-Dec-12 14:49:35

I gave up letting Ds have a packed lunch as he never ate much of it...
I wouldn't say his school dinners are the greatest, but he has tried lots of new dishes...

TapselteerieO Mon 31-Dec-12 14:49:52


notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 14:53:51

I know I shouldn't snack on their stuff but easier said then done. A packet of crisps is too easy a temptation for me.

weegiemum Mon 31-Dec-12 14:55:25

My dc don't like the school dinners and they're not filling. Where we live they're only £1.15 in primary (£2.50 in secondary for my dd1) and they are always starving at home time.

Packed lunch is:

A cheese and/or ham sandwich or wrap or warm pasta or soup in a flask with bread.
Carrot and/or cucumber sticks
Sweet treat like biscuits, cake etc

Milk (plain, strawberry or choc) and water, as well as fruit is available every lunchtime in school.

I'd rather spend the money on something I know will sustain them.

(plus I got nasty food poisoning from school dinners when I was 8 and I've never quite shaken it off in my head!)

blackeyedsusan Mon 31-Dec-12 14:55:40

you can not monitor what they eat when they have school lunch, they could be picking the unhealthy option eaach day. when they have lunch they get a variety of fruit and vegetables, seeds, pulses, wholemeal bread, pasta or pitta breads, filings with calcium, or omega 3 etc. it is a lot cheaper than paying for lunch too.

whistlestopcafe Mon 31-Dec-12 14:57:44

School lunches are easier as it's one less thing to worry about. They are expensive we usually pay about £70 per half term. If ds would eat a normal healthy packed lunch it would be cheaper however when he had packed lunches he always wanted rubbish like pepperami, cheese strings and frube yoghurts so it proved to be quite costly. The school lunch portions are tiny and ds says that they are always running out of vegetables. I cook in the evening as I'm not convinced that the school meals are as good as they are supposed to be.

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 31-Dec-12 14:58:16

Fair enough but paying out for school dinners doesn't solve that problem, it just removes the temptation temporarily so it won't help you to lose weight IYSWIM.

But if the kids like school dinners and you can afford them, why not?

SugarplumMary Mon 31-Dec-12 15:08:47

Do you have the option of trying for a while - maybe last few winter months and seeing if you do actually save the same amount?

My DC primary school doesn’t have options - it’s one meal choice with veg option for registered vegetarians. It sounds healthy and school insists it is but I'm not sure.

I've often thought the same about the stress OP- especially when I'm very tired in winter. I’ve found being disciplined and doing them around tea time instead of leaving them till later or till morning helps.

notnagging Mon 31-Dec-12 15:50:17

I think I'll see for this month as its only 3 weeks and take it from there. I will have a look at the menus although I'm not convinced they stick to them!

Highlander Mon 31-Dec-12 16:38:58

School lunch portions are tiny.

What they offer and what children actually eat are poles apart. Children are never reminded to top up with bread and fruit.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: