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School meals

(19 Posts)
IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 11-Oct-12 13:41:49

possibly this is the wrong topic for this question but I shall continue.
This year I decided to stop the school meals-£2.10 a day- to save money. But my children are not eating the packed lunches I provide despite all sorts of shenanigans to encourage them.
I have two children at primary so dinners will cost um......a fair bit.
Is it worth it financially to balance the emotional and monetary cost of rejected packed lunches? And please don't suggest different packed lunches. I have had it up to here with falafels and wraps and chopped crudités and mini pizzas. The little fuckers dears send all sensible food home including plain ham sandwiches, only eating sweet bits like their fruit juice, yoghurts or any crisps. And I have tried just sending sandwiches alone but they come back too.

AdoraBell Thu 11-Oct-12 15:04:57

I'm struggling with the same thing. What do your DCs actually like that could be put in a lunch box? Mine love pasta salads, especially if it's tuna or salmon. Cold pizza gets eaten, tomorrow I'm sending burgers, cook burger tonight and assemble tomorrow, they can microwave it their school. Mine also like different kinds of salad leaves, finely grated beet root and carrot (raw) because they are wierd kids. none of that stops them scoffing sweet stuff, either their own or their mates, and bring back a full pot of salmon pasta salad when they've actually asked me to make it for themangry.

I'm hoping someone esle will be along soon with some good ideas.

We don't have lunchbox police here, abroad, so that makes my life easier.

AdoraBell Thu 11-Oct-12 15:08:04

Oops, forgot to say that for me it is worth the extra hassle etc because the quality of food and amount of dirt and bugs on the salad means it really is the only option, for me.

Could you work out the cost of the rejected food (I know, yawn!) and see what difference it you get?

thirtysomething1 Thu 11-Oct-12 16:30:02

I let my two school age DC pick two days a week when they have school dinners and it's packed lunch on the other days. This way they don't miss out completely on the social side of having school lunch together with their peers - I get the feeling it's quite important to them and they really look forward to those two days -, and they also get to eat whatever I pack for them on packed lunch days.

Would this be an option in your school perhaps?

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 11-Oct-12 17:55:29

They were having dinners two days a week in the summer term. They seemed to quite like them and did enjoy being with friends who also had them.
They will eat some things at home which they won't at school- houmous, raw carrot and cucumber, olives, pitta for instance.
Basically one doesn't really eat any of the sensible foods in a packed lunch and one has a limited menu which she can reject on a random basis.
I am definitely leaning toward putting them both on full time dinners for my sanity at least. They can have smaller home dinners to compensate on some of the cost since they will be getting a hot meal at lunch.

thirtysomething1 Thu 11-Oct-12 18:07:59

Agree, even without the credit crunch I was a firm believer of one proper hot meal a day. If my DC have school lunch it's normally a quick sandwich, bagel, pitta, cold wrap, savoury pancakes, etc for dinner.

NatashaBee Thu 11-Oct-12 18:28:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CuriosityKilledTheCrap Fri 19-Oct-12 21:59:59

My reception age DD as just started to ask for school meals. Her younger brother is with a childminder who gives them sandwiches/cold lunch.

So if the elder one had school dinners; then what? In the evening either DD has another hot dinner, or DS has another cold dinner. No way am I cooking 2 different meals.

Answers on a postcard please smile

whatinthewhatnow Fri 19-Oct-12 22:17:20

ah, I have similar dilemna. my plan is to wait until the toddler starts school then get them both school dinners and just do a light tea. Although I do like the fact that with a packed lunch I get some idea of how much they've actually eaten, whereas with SDs leftovers are obviously chucked away, so they might have no lunch and then a teeny dinner. tricky.

defineme Fri 19-Oct-12 22:23:42

Have you seen the size of a school dinner at primary?

My thin tall children need a substantial meal after it-doeasn't matter if it's hot or not, but they'd need a cheese sandwich with that soup.

I have 3 kids and £30 a week is an awful lot of money, but the social aspect and trying new food is really important, plus I can't be faffed with 5 pack lunches(dh and I have them for work) to make all the time. They do eat all their lunch every day though if I give them pack lunch-think I'd give up on pack lunch if they didn't. We do alternate weeks.

ScorpionQueen Fri 19-Oct-12 22:47:52

Shewhomustbeobeyed, are you sure they ate the school dinners? They may have just picked at them and be more into the social side. Save your money, if they were really hungry they would eat their lunches.

I stopped school dinners when I found out DD was choosing the soup option every day. Didn't mind paying £2.20 for a cooked meal but not for half a tin of soup.

Goldenjubilee10 Sat 20-Oct-12 18:07:56

Mine have school dinners every day. With three of them it is quite expensive but they do eat it and I can offer a lighter tea. I have a packed lunch (usually soup) each day but I am happy with wraps or a baked tattie at tea time.

TheQueensDinner Mon 22-Oct-12 19:44:49

Me too. I have 3 DC at primary school and I hate making packed lunches. DD2 never eats it, no matter what I try (like you I have tried everything), so I have just agreed to the two oldest ones having school dinners every day. This is going to cost more than £70 a month though which makes me want to weep but DH is convinced that I spend more than that on the packed lunches which are getting thrown away. Also, I will not miss the, "Why have you not eaten your lunch?" argument with DD2 every day.

midseasonsale Wed 24-Oct-12 06:32:35

Don't put yogurt, juice and crisps in their lunch box? Can you just stick to water, sandwich, fruit or chopped veg? They can have a packet of crisps on a Friday.

Unless they are seriously underweight, I wouldn't bother buying a school lunch. If they are hungry they will eat the packed lunch but they are just not that bothered at the moment. It would be better to ask the staff to remind your kids to eat more and chat less.

TheQueenMother80 Thu 25-Oct-12 12:14:21

My DCs like the school dinners but I just can't afford it 5 days a week for all of them - if they did a sibling discount or something I'd be much more willing to buy them - I do think a hot meal in them at lunch time does them good. Mine are £2.40- is that expensive compared with most?

Mandy21 Fri 26-Oct-12 13:09:17

I thought my children's school was expensive at £1.80 a day. £2.40???!!!

I agree with some of the other posters that its more to do with what everyone else is doing - when they started in reception, there were only 2 children that had packed lunch, everyone else had school lunches. They seem to love the queuing, the fact they get a little tray with individual holes for main meal, side, fruit, drink etc, they get a choice (choice of 2 hot meals) and they sit with all their friends. The children with packed lunches all sit together at one end of the hall. The school has a healthy eating award so I'm satisified that they eat well. I like the idea of them having a hot meal and to be honest, it saves the faff of preparing packed lunches.

I agree with the other posters though that it doesn't necessarily equate to having a lighter tea - I don't think the portions are particularly small (I've been in for something else and saw how much they were given) but I think with all the activity they do, the fact that they generally eat quite early (I think at our school its 11.50!) they still need a "proper" meal at night. I have cut out more meat though from our family teas (as they always seem to have meat / chicken / fish at lunch) which has reduced the food bill.

girlsyearapart Fri 26-Oct-12 13:15:12

They are £2.15 a day at our school - we are in Surrey.
Dd1 is starting them after half term as her best friend is and if you are A Hot Dinner you can't sit with someone who is A Packed Lunch..

I would like the option of them having school dinners some days and pack lunch on others but I don't think the school offers it.

CuriosityKilledTheCrap Sat 27-Oct-12 18:11:28

Our school does do the option of alternating days, but I think they like to know on a Monday what the plans are?

So this has discouraged me from a morning panic, or being convinced by DD that yes mummy I will eat a hot meal tomorrow... purllleeeeeaaasssseeee

babbas Tue 27-Nov-12 09:59:19

Mine always had school dinners until I realised they were coming home starving. The portions are tiny, and my kids were losing weight. Some days they were having tiny hard jacket potatoes with cold beans. My kids started hating the dinners and they never got what they wanted as it always ran out by the time they got to the front of the queue. When school Introduced cold sarnies and fruit for dessert that wasthe final straw. They now have healthy packed lunches and don't come home starving. Don't get me wrong, I would love my kids to have a hot meal at lunch but the dinner sat our school have gone totally downhill. My kids are thin and tall and need more than two fish fingers and three sticks of boiled carrot as a main!!

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