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School Dinners?

(35 Posts)
CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 18:29:01

Should the school dinner be the same size for all year groups? In other words - is a portion for a reception child that is 4yo meant to be the same size as for a (very tall - 4ft9) 9yo in Y5? DS1 is coming home every day ready to chew his own arm off.

I give him a good-sized breakfast, cereal with fruit. He takes a piece of fruit and a cereal bar for breaktime, but he is still coming out starving - and grumpy because he is hungry.

I can't afford to do packed lunch, as I get free school meals. Even DS2 (almost 8yo, in Y3, not a great eater) is starting to complain some days that he is hungry - he gets the same breakfast as DS1, and the same snack.

Admittedly, today, DS1 DIDN'T get the full dinner - he has a lunchtime club, was first in the hall, got Jacket potatoes with beans and sweetcorn - DS2 went in later and got the above PLUS meatballs (DS1 says there were no meatballs for him) but even when he HAS been given the full amount of food he is still starving.

Surely a portion of food that is dished up to a 4yo (that gets fully eaten by a 4yo) is not going to be the right sized portion for a 9yo?

Hulababy Mon 26-Sep-11 18:32:17

In DD's school all the children get to ask for a small or large portion of the main parts of the meal offered. Juniors can also go back for seconds if they finish their plate (infants can't as they eat in the firsts itting so may not be enough left if they did) and juniors also get offered bread and butter alongside their meal.

mrz Mon 26-Sep-11 18:43:15

As the parents of the small reception child and the tall Y5 pay exactly the same for the meal they should receive the same portion.
Imagine you went to a restaurant and the waitress gave the people on the next table bigger portions because they were taller ... would you be pleased?

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 18:49:26

I see what you are saying Mrz - but while I still cook my dc a proper dinner at home every night - a LOT of the other parents whose dc are on FSM's just give them a sandwich in the evening. There's NO chance for seconds, no bread and butter (only salad bar - DS1 tries to fill up on the bits from salad bar he likes - not much - but gets told off if he takes 'too much').

What is they best way to stop DS1 getting grumpy by the end of the school day when the lunch isn't enough for him? I am struggling to afford his fruit & cereal bar for snack at break, let alone doing a full pack up x2 as well (DS1 and DS2). I am on a limited income, surely if the school has to 'nutritionally balance' the meals - they should know that portion sizes are different for a 4yo and a 9 / 10 / 11yo?

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 18:50:42

And I thought the idea behind FSM's was to provide a filling, nutritious meal for dc that might not otherwise get one?

dikkertjedap Mon 26-Sep-11 18:52:03

At our school portions are exactly the same, and yes, they are not big ...

ShowOfHands Mon 26-Sep-11 18:53:00

DD is 4yo and had complimentary school lunches last week (they're promoting them). She ate everything on her plate (same portion size for every year) and came home utterly ravenous. She has a sandwich, yoghurt and piece of fruit at least when she gets in and then a full cooked dinner in the evening. Gawd knows what she'll be like in a few years.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 26-Sep-11 18:54:18

Same sized portions here regardless of age. School meals are small, certainly not enough to not cook in the evening although it never entered my head to only give a sandwich as an evening meal.

SamsungAndDelilah Mon 26-Sep-11 18:59:15

hmm interesting how much other children eat.

DS regularly eats half a sandwich at lunch, and then only half his tea and no pudding. Today at tea he ate a couple of dessertspoon's worth of fish pie, having eaten half a sandwich.

hmm. Perhaps I should try to feed him more. He will eat crap, but I'd rather not offer it. Need a new thread for this. Sorry for crashing yours.

OddBoots Mon 26-Sep-11 19:00:29

Around here the R and KS1 have the same size (and price) and KS2 have a larger size and price.

UniS Mon 26-Sep-11 19:06:45

AT DSs school

Yr R have small plates + small portions
Y1 full size plate small portion ( ie half a big piece of fish)
Y2 + 3 slightly bigger portions ( small piece of fish)

Y 4,5 & 6
Bigger portions ( full piece of fish) and for slow eaters the chance of seconds if there are any.

Cook and her assistant ( after 4 years of these kids) have a fair idea of which Y4,5,6 kids eat more or less and tailor portion sizes a bit so the light eaters don;t have a mountain of food wasted.

Hulababy Mon 26-Sep-11 19:17:12

For his snack could you send him a small sandwich instead of just fruit - might be more filling? Or give him toast when he gets home from school. Carbs can help him fill up.

Hulababy Mon 26-Sep-11 19:18:30

Nothing wrong with a sandwich in the evening either, esp if accompanied by some salad, etc. Evening meal def doesn't have to be hot. Can still be filling and just as nutrious if it is cold. DD often choses to have a sandwich in an evening, but then her school dinners are reasonably portoned - I know, I have eaten there.

gabid Mon 26-Sep-11 20:01:03

If I was a dinner lady I probably couldn't help giving a bigger Y6 child more than a small reception child.

ShowOfHands Mon 26-Sep-11 20:36:20

Our school allows only fruit for morning snack. It does NOT sustain any of them. By lunch they're all rabid with hunger.

Hulababy Mon 26-Sep-11 20:43:52

Yes, at school I work at snack is provided - it's infants - and it is fruit only. And then very little sometimes, esp if something like carrots.

At DD's school they take their own snacks and the only stipulation is that is should be a healthy snack. So a small sandwich would be permitted generally, so long as filling is ok.

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 22:08:41

Snack - letter states a piece of fruit OR a cereal bar, nothing else - I'm already dicing with the wrath of the HT if he is spotted having both at breaktime...They are NOT allowed a sandwich at break - it would stick out like a sore thumb. DS1 and DS2 already eat their fruit at one end of the playground, and their cereal bar at the other end so they don't get into trouble for having both. hmm

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 22:12:31

And the school won't even let the dc have ham in a sandwich - unless it is 'nice ham'. Apparently affordable cheap ham has something 'not allowed' in it. Not allowed Jam, Chocolate spread, cheese spread (too processed apparently) - can't actually work out what else bar plain cheese the dc ARE allowed in Sandwiches, even for packed lunch. Mostly pasta salads or flasks of HOMEMADE soup - letters state NOT tinned soup. Lunchbox Nazi's well and truly present at THIS school - if their breaktime cereal bar has even a 'drizzle' of chocolate over the top (think weetabix Oaty cereal bars) they get confiscated. <<Sigh>>

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 22:14:48

The school's suggestion for lunchboxes : A bottle of water. A flask of soup or a pasta salad. Carrot sticks and hummus. A piece of fruit. Nothing else.

clam Mon 26-Sep-11 22:28:54

"And the school won't even let the dc have ham in a sandwich - unless it is 'nice ham' "
Seriously?? Can they do this? I'd be interested to know where they stood on a legal footing with this one.I'd be furious! I am the parent, not them and therefore I will decide what my children have to eat in their packed lunch.
We have different size portions for KS1 and KS2. They pay different amounts.

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 22:57:08

Apparently 'cheap' ham has too much nitrates in, and shouldn't form part of a child's diet. (?!). Because everyone whose dc attend the school can afford ham that has no added water and no mitrates in (at £3.00 for 6 slices, which would make 1 days lunch for my 3 dc). Probably NOT legal - but bugger all I can do about it, without complaining to the Governors...who are the ones that brought IN these draconian new 'healthy eating' rules...

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 23:00:42

Price of school dinners (for those that have to pay) went up to £1.90 a day this September. Which I am well aware is quite low compared to some schools, and they have made it so hard for people to send in Packed lunches that only about 5/30 dc in each class have packed lunch. I'm sure that a lot of the parents (I know some that work who pay for school dinners, and are disgusted with the portion size) wouldn't mind paying a little extra for the older dc. But right now it's £1.90 for all, YR through to Y6.

CardyMow Mon 26-Sep-11 23:02:08

Is DS1 doing the right thing - he is going to raise this matter with the school council (peer council, makes suggestions to the HT), about the portion sizes for the older dc's.

startail Mon 26-Sep-11 23:03:37

I'm having enough hassle with school wanting water, never mind them caring what type of ham.
As for nitrates they seem to live on bacon butties at high school.

startail Mon 26-Sep-11 23:05:40

I think DD1s class were pissed of with portion sizes and used to stuff the bread.
DD2 will hardly ever eat school dinner and never eats a full portion of anything except pasta.

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