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To think the plan to ban packed lunches is crazy?

(118 Posts)
Notcontent Mon 11-Feb-13 10:24:46

Apparently one of the government's proposals to improve healthy eating is to ban packed lunches at schools. I understand the reasoning, that it's to address the problem of parents who send their child to school with a chocolate bar, a jam sandwich and a packet of crisps. And if all schools produced a varied menu of food cooked on the premises then I would be all for it but that's nom the case.

In the borough where I live in London all the schools get their food from a large catering company. The food sounds ok on paper but is really just mass produced slop. Also, while in theory there is choice, in practice there is not. My dd eats a very good range of foods but there are one or two things she doesn't eat and these ingredients seem to feature in every second school meal.

anklebitersmum Mon 11-Feb-13 11:18:22

It will be a cold day in hell when I allow my children to eat the junk that they serve up for children in schools..barr the Christmas type meal which by definition has to have sprouts, proper meat and real veg.

I'll be sending mine with soups, cottage pie and spag bol regardless.

Not that it'll ever happen anyway.

gorionine Mon 11-Feb-13 11:18:51

Please be indulgent with my spelling skills, it is the holidays!

LittleAbruzzenBear Mon 11-Feb-13 11:19:00

I wouldn't want to eat a school dinner so why would I want my son to? It isn't particularly healthy, but more importantly it's vile! I cook my son a fresh, healthy dinner every evening. I would not pay for a school dinner. Like someone else said, if people and their children want to eat crap, they will do. I would also add that when I was a child only children who came from poor backgrounds had a school dinner, but none of them were fat and they ate a lot of chips! It is the lack of exercise that causes the problem.

sheeplikessleep Mon 11-Feb-13 11:19:04

Signora - you are exceptionally lucky, can I send my DS? wink
I'd give my right arm to have home cooked nutritious food and would go for that 5 days a week if it was offered. I'd pay more than the £2 a day too. I appreciate the money is, I think part of the problem. I'd very happily pay more than £2 a day if it was what I'd call a proper meal.

Like Folkgirl, our local primary seems to offer pizza, roast (I'm sure from processed meat), fish shapes, cake and custard. From what I can tell, veg is basically peas and sweetcorn.

That also really irks me - I would put in a biscuit or little piece cake one day a week into DSs lunchbox as a treat. BUT, we're not allowed. Despite cake seeming to be offered every day on the school dinners!

I think it would be great if more children had a school dinner.

My DC's have always had school dinners and it's a shame they're now in a minority. I like the opportunity for them to have a healthy and hot meal with some of their 5 a day vegetables and fruit. They've always been very positive about them - especially the puddings which they rarely get at home !

In my day nearly everyone had the school dinner - but then they were only 12p in those days ! There used to be just one small table of "packed lunches" in a huge hall of 400 children (perhaps not all at once though it sounded like it !)

So, they need to be more affordable, and keep working on being healthy, appealing, nutritious, and with some choices for all.

I think free dinners for all would actually be a good investment in our children's health and well-being, and a very helpful support to families. You could even take something off child benefit for the funding of it ? Would be more inclusive if all children were included in free meals too, rather than as at present.

ChristmasJubilee Mon 11-Feb-13 11:38:06

Our school dinners are freshly cooked in the school kitchen and are locally sourced. At £1.80 I think they are reasonable and ds3 has them every day. The children choose what they want from the menu in the morning and are given a wrist band. This ensures enough of each meal is made for those that want it. I can't stand doing packed lunches - although we don't have lunchbox police!

SamanthaStormer Mon 11-Feb-13 11:39:20

Who would pay to enforce that one, then?! As I know I couldn't afford £20 a week for school dinners on top of everything else to pay out.
There's nothing wrong with packed lunches, and at least with packed lunches I know they're getting a healthy, balanced dinner.
They'll have a tuna or chicken and cucumber sandwich/roll, something like that, a piece of fruit such as an apple, banana or pear, a yoghurt, a home baked flapjack or muffin or something for dessert.
Then they always get a hot cooked meal at home in the evening with plenty of veg.
It's patronising and insulting to think all parents are too stupid to feed their kids properly and need to be told how to do it by forcing them to adhere to so called healthy guidelines.
I already know what's healthy and not, thanks.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 11:41:58

Sorry I absolutely refuse to pay for school dinners for several reasons.

Firstly I feed my 3 children a very healthy balanced diet.I am not going to subsidise those that don't several of whom will get their school dinners paid for.

School dinners are far too expensive for what they are and quite frankly not good enough quality.

Our school cooks it's food on site but is beholden to the provider who wants to make a profit and the food it sells isn't good enough imvho.

I have 3 kids and refuse to/can't pay £2.10 a head for meals that don't fill them up as they are far too small,are often not what they've chosen because they have run out,are way too carb heavy(cheap) and to be quite frank they simply don't like.Said meals are often not half as healthy as the packed lunch that I send or fit into our balanced daily diet as a whole.We also like to eat a hot meal together as a family and I'm not paying £2.10 for a sandwich/snack meal.

So no I'll never pay for school dinners,said advisors are rather insulting to be frank.Many parents are feeding their kids healthily,many aren't however forcing those that do into school dinners isn't a way to solve the problem.

Why should already stretched families fund parents who can't feed their kids properly?The gov needs to get off it's backside and stump up the cash themselves alongside better education,sport facilities and vigorous food advertising controls.Controlling what academies give their kids which Jamie Oliver is arguing for and Gove is riding roughshod over would help too.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 11:44:14

Our (lovely) HT mentioned the possibility of restricting snacks in lunchboxes. Thankfully we were in the dinner hall when she did it so had the opportunity to point out the utter shit wide range of snacks and sweets on the school dinner menu so that put paid to that. The packed lunch option on the school dinner menu is one of the most unhealthy things I've ever seen.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 11:46:16

And on 60 posts there's - what? 3? people saying their school meals are healthy/well sourced/freshly cooked. That's a shocking percentage if it's a true representation of the whole country.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 11:47:54

Oh our school has a fruit only policy which apparently includes fruit products that are little more than sweets being a bag half full of sugar.I don't want my dc consuming that much sugar and having a sugar plummet half way through the morning.

My dc can't get through until 1pm on an apple so they have a doctors note(ridiculous)in order to have cheese/oatcakes/low sugar flapjack I make too.

TroublesomeEx Mon 11-Feb-13 11:50:04

I worked at a school where Fruit Winders were accepted as a healthy breaktime snack.


TroublesomeEx Mon 11-Feb-13 11:51:02

I had a real issue with that every time I was shown one and found it difficult to not say

"well the rules say I have to let you eat that, but it's not fruit and it's not healthy".

Bite your tongue Mrs FG, bite your tongue!

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 11:52:01

I'm happy for ds to have school dinners at his school, the kitchen is on site and everything cooked daily including fresh bread.

His old school was re heated slop.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 11-Feb-13 11:59:40

This can't happen. Imagine the outrage. And how do they plan
On dealing with the many dietary requirements? Some I gather for religious reasons alone have to be prepared in different places and be stored in different fridges etc.


My child would be in tears at the thought of soggy veg again

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 12:12:08

There is no way it could happen,silly,silly advisers.

When I eat out and pay for food I expect decent portions,what I ordered and properly cooked food.

The queues of disgruntled parents wanting a refund when their kids came home complaining of feeling hungry,not having the food they asked for or poorly cooked food would be out of the front door of any school.

When you choose to pay it's bad enough but if you were forced to(which I very much doubt could happen) I for one would be ensuring I got value for money and what I paid for.

Scholes34 Mon 11-Feb-13 12:17:08

I very much doubt anyone could ban packed lunches. Despite the fact that schools are cooking in large quantities, it's much cheaper to produce a meal for the family at home - our school lunches are £2.10 a day, and for £10.50 a day I can produce something much more substantial for a family of five in the evening.

When I was in the infants and juniors (40 years ago), everyone had a hot school lunch if they didn't go home for lunch, but I remember the teachers always ate with us. Liver was always the most popular meal. I don't know what Sheffield City Council's catering staff did to it, but there were never any left-overs or waste.

freddiefrog Mon 11-Feb-13 12:18:12

To be fair, our old school meals provider was fab, lovely and healthy food, good variety, decent portions and enough to go round, all for £1.60.

Then the council changed suppliers and this new one is awful. Meals seem to consist of pizza and jacket potatoes, there's never enough to go round so the last class to go in end up with odd bits of bread, all for £2.50

If they go back to the old provider, we'll go back to having more school meals, but in the mean time it's packed lunches all the way

We've got a couple of fab thermos lunch flasks so they have a lot of hot soup and left over stews or pasta, which I'd rather they have than the fish and chips on today's school dinner menu

I think your right Polka and all they could do is offer free meals to all children, I agree they couldn't "ban" packed lunches or somehow force parents to pay for a school dinner for their child. Like you, just don't see that working.
Though as I said I'm happy with school dinners and would like to see their uptake encouraged.

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 12:27:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 12:27:47

Freddie that soooooo sounds like what happened to us. This is exactly what happens which is exactly why I've stopped letting them have it even for a treat.

Several final straws for me were dtwin 2 coming home upset as he ordered salmon pieces which they ran out of and them giving him a limp,cold sausage roll instead.I don't let mine eat processed red meat products so was livid.Another day they ran out of chips so he got bread.They get 2 bloody limp fish fingers and the jacket potatoes don't come with cheese or anything else(they used to be lovely).I'm not convinced by the sausage quality and a friend if mine on helping with lunch was horrified as to how little they actually got.I dare not go in as I may well combust and the kids would die of embarrassment.

Dd was an a table where all the KS1 children were having the dessert she ordered and she was told there wasn't enough for her so she got cheesehmm.

They make ks1 a priority and they get the same size portions.A 9 year old needs more than a 4 year old.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 12:31:06

And sorry how exactly is fish,chips,cake and milkshake all in one meal healthy?

They also don't insist they have veg on their plate. Dtwin2 will happily go veg free however if I pay £2.10 I want him to eat some veg.If he has a packed lunch I know what veg he has eaten,make him at it later and provide the veg he'll eat.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 12:32:53

Yes my dc said the fish fingers are grey,maybe pollack which is fine but I'm not convinced they're 100% pollack.

Oh and they have those crappy artificial diet yogs with sweeteners(another thing I don't like my dc having).

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 12:33:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 12:33:20

Will sit on my hands now blush.

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