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School meal or packed lunches

(27 Posts)
vickibee Sat 17-Sep-11 12:34:08

My DS has just started reception and is already pestering for a packed lunch. Says he doesn't like dinners. The real reason is because and older friend with whom he sits also has a oacked luch. He is not eating the meals so it is essentially a waste on money and a hungry child. Shall I perservere with meals or let him take a pack-up?
What do other people do?
BTW he always took a packed lunch to his preschool

smalltownshame Sat 17-Sep-11 12:38:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HummusNKetchup Sat 17-Sep-11 14:01:20

what smalltown said.

I wish I could choose school dinners for my kids. They have to bring in packed lunch which means I have to run around after school giving them a proper meal, as they have only sandwiches at lunchtime. Now if they had a hot meal at school things would be much easier in the evening (and I wouldn't have the faff of buying and making their lunches.)

Xanthius Sat 17-Sep-11 14:03:53

I like school dinners, esp in the colder months. They are expensive £1.96 the children seem to like the food, I've seen a test menu and it looks nice a lot different to the school dinners I had!

Bourbonchops Sat 17-Sep-11 14:12:14

Packed lunches as it's cheaper. I have 2 in school and can't justify £20 per week for a small meal.

handsomeharry Sat 17-Sep-11 14:19:41

I give my DS a packed lunch up until mid October and then he has a hot school lunch. I don't think they are fantastic but DS will eat them no problem. After the Easter holidays he goes back to packed lunches.
I'm not sure what he prefers TBH.

At the moment I am doing battle with him because he wants to go the shops for chips at lunchtime. He is 9!! So no way it will be happening.

lchodge Sat 17-Sep-11 15:58:51

I vary it. The days of her favourite hot meals she gets money and the other days takes packed lunches. My daughter is quite easy to please food-wise though!

Loopymumsy Sat 17-Sep-11 16:57:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Sat 17-Sep-11 17:19:16

Mine both have school dinners and yes they are pricey but at least at our school they are well cooked, tasty and a decent size. One of my pet hates is making sandwiches and it would be a constant battle as DS considers sandwiches are the only thing to take as a packed lunch (not cool to take anything else) and he only likes the jam variety. No way am I giving him jam sandwiches 5 days a week. DD loves school dinners but as she eats absolutely anything would also love sandwiches I'm sure if she was given the option. She hasn't been.

Ooopsadaisy Sat 17-Sep-11 17:26:23

I am a bit anal about school dinners.

I believe that it is the school's responsibility to teach my child and my responsibility to feed them.

I thoroughly dislike preparing packed lunches (I'd rather put out bins and clean ovens) but I see it as a kind of duty. (Crazy woman speaking!)

DCs are both teens and have never had anything but packed lunch and we have never had any food ishooooooos.

Whatever works best for you and gives your DC the best diet/happiness.

sittinginthesun Sat 17-Sep-11 17:35:58

I insist on school dinners. They are encouraged to try different foods; it's a hot meal; and I like the idea of them sitting and eating a proper meal with their friends; and I hate making packed lunches. No brainer for me.

jetgirl Sat 17-Sep-11 17:37:57

DD has school dinners and loves them. It's much easier for me as a working mum to know she's had a good hot meal so the evenings don't require me to to make another if I've had a really long day, and she wastes so much of a packed lunch: half-eaten banana, half eaten apple and sandwich crusts are yucky to deal with! Let's face it, she has school dinners entirely for my benefit grin

workshy Sat 17-Sep-11 17:45:26

I did 4 years of packed lunches and have just switched onto school meals -why didn't I do it sooner?????

mine are in childcare from 8am-6pm either side of school so it's a massive rush to get out the house before 7.45, then not arriving home until 6.15 ad having to START cooking a proper meal???? I must have been mad

plus it got to the point where they were eating a ham sandwich, a yoghurt and a cereal bar every lunch time -gave up giving them fruit as it always came home with a couple of bites out of it

at school they get choice of 2 meals, veggies with every meal, unlimited salad bar, fruit salad 3 days a week and hot puds 2 days
got to be better than what I was allowed to put in pack ups (list of banned food was endless)

vickibee Sat 17-Sep-11 18:27:40

thnx fot the comments, i work school hours so would prefer him to have a hot meal @ £1.70 is good value

bigTillyMint Sat 17-Sep-11 18:49:56

But if he's not eating it, he's not getting any nutrients. Or energy.

You can put a flask of soup / pasta, etc in his lunchbag if you want him to have something hot.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 17-Sep-11 18:55:14

Do the school make them take home all their packed lunch debris?

Mine have a packed lunch due to the cost of school dinners. They can have one school meal a week if they want one.

One advantage of a packed lunch is you can see what they have and haven't eaten as our school make them take all their rubbish and uneaten food home.

If ds had school meals I would be wasting a lot of money as he would leave the majority of it as he is in such a hurry to get outside and play.

This way I know how big a snack he needs after school to keep him on an even keel.

bananamam Sat 17-Sep-11 19:04:15

I agree re packed lunches. My DS loves all sorts of food and the school menu is good, but not varied enough for his tastes! I can also provide him with lots of small bits to make a large lunch at about half the price of a school dinner.

He loves bento style dining grin

Saying that he gets a hot dinner every evening, but if he couldn't I might switch to dinners for winter.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 17-Sep-11 19:07:38

I use a food flask in the winter, so they get soup, pasta, rice and peas etc.

RueDeWakening Sat 17-Sep-11 21:26:12

DD has just started reception, and has school dinners - we qualify for free school meals at the mo so it's definitely cheaper for us this way! And she's a fussy bugger child at home, yet at school will happily eat stuff she'd throw a tantrum about if I presented it to her.

It's also had a positive influence on what she's willing to eat at home, as she happily tried and actually liked the tikka massala I made yesterday. Just hoping it continues!

LorenSorensen Sat 17-Sep-11 21:38:37

DS (7) has always had packed lunches as he wants to eat his food as fast as possible and get out and play football. School dinners take too long.

They also aren't esp healthy at our school, and I prefer him to eat a healthier packed lunch.

StealthPolarBear Sat 17-Sep-11 21:42:36

Oops, but is it not your responsibility to make sure they are fed? Rather than directly prepare all their food? Or do you never eat out as a family?

racingheart Sat 17-Sep-11 22:43:14

I have one DS on school dinners and one on packed lunches. I prefer packed lunches, personally, even though the dinners are good, as you can see what they have eaten, and also know they are getting a proper balance by putting in stuff you know they eat. I'm never sure if my DS on school dinners eats anything other than endless quorn steaks and cake and custard! School dinners are expensive too. £2 a day. My other son gets a really great packed lunch for less than that.

nooka Sat 17-Sep-11 22:56:16

Given your ds has only just started reception I'd say (if I were you) that he can have packed lunch for a set amount of time (say this half term) and then review. Dinner halls can be very intimidating places, so the security of sitting by a friend could be important to him. My children are at a school that has no canteen or lunch hall so they can only have packed lunches. It is a bit of a pain, but in the UK their packed lunches were so bad that we gave up on them despite the convenience.

workshy Sat 17-Sep-11 23:32:32

if you sending packed lunch avoid yoghurts at all costs!

they never finish them and then when you open the lunch box at night everything is covered in sour yoghurt and it is not fun

and those squeezy tubes of the stuff are just as bad, my two have both come home covered becasue the child sat next to them has struggled to open it and ended up spraying it everywhere!

startail Sun 18-Sep-11 01:21:05

Oopsadaisy your not as crazy as my Mum, who said exactly the same and had me, DSIS and dad home for lunch everyday of primary. Secondary was 12 miles away so we got packed lunch.
I wish DD2 would eat lunch, but she likes one think a week on the present menu.
Secondary have sorts of things and DD1 is much less of a fuss pot, her dinner card eats almost £3 a day and primary is £2.

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