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I despair - the healthy eating message in schools

(211 Posts)
FurtherSupport Sun 02-Aug-15 09:09:46

I really have tried with my DC. I believe the best diets have everything in moderation, lots of fruit and veg, plenty of protein, fats so long as it's not so much it's you overweight, avoid processed food and artificial rubbish and include minimal sugar and refined carbs.

I'm in no way obsessive about it, but this is what we aim for.

The message from schools is all low fat and replace sugar with sweetners. At the school where I work they serve an ice lolly that is basically coloured flavoured water as dessert. It's low in fat, sugar and salt and therefore must be healthy. confused

DS1 is just back from cadet camp and thrilled to tell me how unhealthy the food has been because he's had a cooked breakfast every morning before going out on the moors for a long active day. OTOH, he thinks (despite me continually telling him otherwise) that the fruit cola they sell at school is healthy because it says on the bottle it contains one of your five a day angry

PixieChops Sun 02-Aug-15 09:20:00

If this was my DD I'd probably send her with a packed lunch. I know this may not be an option for you as they can get quite expensive and I'm unaware of your financial situation. I agree a coloured water lolly is not a dessert and that things in moderation are the best way forward. It's a bit silly to tell everyone that they must never eat sugar etc. imo sweeteners are worse as they are full of chemicals that can cause serious health issues when older- aspartame for example is particularly nasty.

PixieChops Sun 02-Aug-15 09:22:01

Plus children need a certain amount of fat (not the saturated stuff) to develop properly, I don't think you're being unreasonable about being hmm about the situation, hopefully someone will come along with options for you in how best to tackle it.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 02-Aug-15 09:24:33

low fat is just low flavour with extra sugar or sweetness. leaves them still hungry and consuming more calories than a small portion of the full fat version which tastes better and hasn't been tampered with.

I'd start sending packed lunches if they are handing out that shit.

whiteagle Sun 02-Aug-15 09:31:58

You need to take this up with the council. Go onto other council wedsites, dowload other menus and compare. Ask for evidence how they devise the menues.

Our state school has a great menu - a few off the daily 2 course menu are:
BBQ chicken and rice, lentil roast with roast potatoes, plum crumble and custard, jelly & ice cream.

A large pfi company provides the meals, so I would think that they are on the ball nutritionally, as they cover lots of school. My gripe is portion size - the meals are great but they are too small!

FurtherSupport Sun 02-Aug-15 09:32:08

It's not just this school though. The Heathly Schools message and the dreadful Change4Life and the guidelines given to school kitchens are all about low fat and replacing sugar with low cal drinks etc.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 02-Aug-15 09:37:37

I agree, it is bollocks. Makes me rage tbh.

The leaflet I saw from our council recommended replacing full fat cheese with low fat cheese. For children! Who need fat! With cheese in a sandwich which is cut thinly anyway angry

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 02-Aug-15 10:36:24

I agree Further. We've talked about this and treat the Change4Life leaflets as comedy ... We do packed lunches.

FurtherSupport Sun 02-Aug-15 10:39:08

I did PL all through primary too but trickier at secondary - I should get a grip but FTB am going with letting them have a school meal and trying to get the good stuff into them at home.

What I really object to though is the "education" they're getting on what a good diet should be, which is mostly just plain wrong. That doesn't change if they have a PL or not, they still get all these messages.

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 02-Aug-15 10:43:33

I know. Sometimes you just spend the time they are not in school undoing whatever damage is done there.

TychosNose Sun 02-Aug-15 12:01:19

I'm with you.

Dd is forever classifying food as good or bad, based on what she's been told at school and by mil

I just try to keep the moderation message strong at home and hope it works. Our poor kids must be so confused!

Highlove Sun 02-Aug-15 13:34:33

Oh I'm so with you here. That Change for Life stuff is utter bollocks. It makes me mad that this shit is being pumped into kids - no wonder the obesity epidemic is getting worse. It's just bloody nonsense that has long since been scientifically proven to be wrong.

When I raised the fact my toddler gets nutritionally valueless jelly twice a week at her (Ofsted rated outstanding) nursery they were very quick to proudly tell me it is sugar free. That's even fucking worse because it's full of aspartame! I generally take the view that low-fat/sugar products are vastly worse for you than the real thing because they're full of crap, and they leave you less satisfied because they rarely taste right.

MN HQ - take note - you could help with this. A campaign..?

mamaswabey Sun 02-Aug-15 14:56:46

I'd definitely support a campaign about this. It makes me really cross too.

'EAT REAL FOOD' is the only message they need really, but the truth is, this would mean employing more people to cook it and a real programme of food education, teaching kids about where their food comes from and how to cook with actual ingredients. I think they just can't be doing with all that investment.

(In my more cynical moments, I also think that the big food companies have a vested interest in this not happening and therefore may have something to do with the skewed messages we get in things like the dire Change 4 Life campaign.)

So instead of teaching kids about real, healthy food, schools pay lip service to the idea of 'healthy eating education' and end up giving kids messages that are at best confusing and at worst downright dangerous, while pumping them full of processed rubbish.

FurtherSupport Sun 02-Aug-15 20:11:11

You're not being cynical to think manufacturers have a vested interest in Change4Life, it's sponsored by all these companies

I have now idea how or why that's legal.

FurtherSupport Sun 02-Aug-15 20:11:26

no idea....

whiteagle Sun 02-Aug-15 20:56:56

I'm in Scotland so maybe it is different - not heard of Change4life- but my DC don't seem to be coming home from school with a strong message, other than to try to make healthy choices.

SomethingFunny Sun 02-Aug-15 21:07:29

I dislike the healthy eating message that schools are giving to our children.

We went to the seaside last week and got fish and chips for a treat. My 5 year old refused to eat the chips as he said "I don't like them, they're not healthy". So sad. And the child isn't even remotely overweight- he only weighs 16.8kg :/

NotCitrus Sun 02-Aug-15 21:29:04

Don't schools use the Eatwell plate image any more? That should get across the message of "everything in moderation" but I guess many small children can't interpret a pie chart in terms of foods.

Change4Life is supposed to be aimed at people with crap diets and unhealthy lifestyles to make them better, rather than a goal in itself for kids starting with a blank slate.

Highlove Sun 02-Aug-15 22:25:15

Don't want to get sidetracked on this...but I see Change 4 Life recommends low fat houmous as a snack for kids. And sugar free jelly. Ffs.

MakeHayIsOrange Sun 02-Aug-15 22:45:05

I am completely with you. It gives me The Rage, and dd takes a packed lunch even though she is eligible for fsm twice over. I hate the fact that everywhere serves sugar free squash and thinks they are doing the children a favour - where I can I send the dcs with their own drink but I can't catch it all. And Good/Bad food, FFS. Often food/sometimes food would be better.

I loathe this message they are getting.

ThewheelThewheel Sun 02-Aug-15 22:50:51

I agree with you.

I think the campaign is a clumsy and inept way of coming at the rising childhood obesity levels - completely inefficiently. Sure, if you eat an artifically flavoured lolly, there are fewer calories in it than in a flapjack. But it teaches nothing about nutritional, filling eating overall...

Hellion7433 Sun 02-Aug-15 22:53:24

I'm with you. Our school is all white wheat, processed proteins and puddings. Little fresh veg/salad

Wolfiefan Sun 02-Aug-15 22:58:37

Humphrey low fat cheese FFS!
Good food provides the energy and nutrients for growing children. Sugar free chuffing jelly is just processed shite!
I work with educated adults who think eating quavers for lunch (lower calories than crisps) or a pot of processed pasta salad (because it's salad you know) is healthy.
Face. Palm.

BathshebaDarkstone Sun 02-Aug-15 23:08:13

At my DC's school school meals are compulsory, as are school snacks, they can't take their own. They have a snack before morning playtime at 10.30, which is fruit. My DC have breakfast at 7, this fruit, then DD doesn't have lunch until 12.30. She's said she's usually hungry long before lunch. Fruit doesn't satisfy you. How's she supposed to learn if she's hungry? hmm

FurtherSupport Mon 03-Aug-15 07:14:53

Wolfie, adults who are bright and educated enough (teachers?) to know better drive me wild. I work with an (obese) woman who thinks she's being "good" when she has half a packet of Jaffa cakes - only 1g fat each you see.

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