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School dinners - do they offer an alternative?

(27 Posts)
hippo123 Mon 24-Mar-14 21:42:11

Ds (year 2) has always had school dinners. But recently he has been saying how he only had mashed potato and nothing else as he didn't like the stew. On curry day he just gets rice, nothing else with it. I would like to say he's making it up but I don't think he is.
I totally understand they can't cater for every kids tastes, and there are some things a child won't like. My issue is they aren't even putting the stuff he doesn't like on his plate, or he's not letting them! I told him to just eat the meat from the stew, which I know he likes, and leave the onions. But he claims if it's on his plate he has to eat it all, he's not allowed to pick bits out.
So I'm paying £2 for a spoonful of mash potato or a bit of plain rice! So my question is should / do primary schools offer an alternative if a child really doesn't like a meal, even if it's just a sandwich or soup?
Ds likes every other meal on the 3 week menu, so I'm reluctant to stop him having school dinners for the sake of 2 meals in 15. His school don't offer a packed lunch some days / school dinner other days like I know some do.

Euphemia Mon 24-Mar-14 22:14:30

My school makes precisely the meals ordered in the morning - no leeway at all for changes or substitutions.

supadupapupascupa Mon 24-Mar-14 22:16:00

i don't know, we have to select the meals and pay beforehand so i know they are likely to be eaten

Nevercan Mon 24-Mar-14 22:16:07

Our school offers a main dinner which changes plus a jacket potato or baguette with various fillings each day

17leftfeet Mon 24-Mar-14 22:17:54

Dds school makes one meat & one veggie

They queue up and pick when they get to the front

If you are at the back and the food has gone then its tough

Rumour has it they are looking for new caterers

Galena Mon 24-Mar-14 22:25:46

DD'S school have 1 meat, 1 veggie and one other and a dessert - the other is either soup and baguette or salad. Every meal is served with bread, veg and fruit which tjey can help themselves to.

breakfastnotattiffanys Mon 24-Mar-14 22:27:43

Three choices on ours - prechosen on a 3 week menu choice cycle.So you get what you order - 2 hot choices and one cold. eg Mince and dumplings, macaroni cheese and cheese savoury baguette and the
sweet (not prechosen) is something like iced sponge or ginger biscuit and milk or rice pudding - - with yogurt and fruit as an alternative.

hels71 Mon 24-Mar-14 22:28:10

One school I know offers a choice of meat, veggie or jacket spud each day. Children have to decide in the morning which they want and everyone gets their choice.

Another school they are given a menu a month in advance and need to pick which days they will have school meals. Most days there is just one option, meat. Although apparently you can ask for a veggie option which is usually quorn sausage or quorn stew.

hippo123 Mon 24-Mar-14 22:54:01

Thanks all. They don't get a choice at all, it's that or nothing, so it's interesting to hear that other schools do. If he doesn't like the pudding he can have fruit from a bowl but according to him that's often empty by the time he gets there. He does get half a piece of plain bread apparently (no spread). Debating now to just give him packed lunch and admit defeat.

jonnyappleseed Mon 24-Mar-14 23:11:22

There must be a veggie option? Can you ask about receiving that on those 2 days?

UniS Mon 24-Mar-14 23:11:31

It sounds like DS's school are particularly good then. Always seems to be 2 carb options and two veg, so he can chose mash or pasta or rice or pasta (he always has pasta ), peas or sweetcorn, beans or "salad". And they can have the pudding or some apple slices or a yogurt.

I guess the school cook must be pretty good at estimating how many will have pasta instead of the advertised carb.

hippo123 Mon 24-Mar-14 23:16:31

jonny, to be fair they do have a vegetarian option but these have to be prebooked, it's not there to help yourself to on the day. And on stew day which ds hates so much the veggie option is veg stew smile

BackforGood Mon 24-Mar-14 23:27:22

I think it must be pretty unusual for there not to be a choice. Admittedly, if it's your class's turn to be last in, the choice may have run out, but never come across a school that doesn't offer a choice in the first place.

In my dcs' Primary school they selected from the choice of 3 at registration, and were given that coloured wrist band (eg red might be the curry, but blue could be fish and yellow is always a vegetarian option, but anyone can have it, you don't have to be a 'declared vegetarian', you might just fancy the cheese bake that day). Then the kitchen cook the right number of meals from the order.

colditz Mon 24-Mar-14 23:31:24

On paper - yes, they have to.

In practice. Not, because they cannot know what each child will choose, so they have to guess at quantities, and if the child is one of the later sittings, the yet what everyone else didn't want.

Ds1 was frequently served mashed potato with pizza, or rice and a bread roll. That's why he now has a pack up. Ds2 is canny enough to land an early sitting.

RiversideMum Tue 25-Mar-14 06:54:41

Our school has 3 hot choices (2 hot and 1 cold in summer). Children can order at home or first thing at school. Meals are plated up. Even bizarre things like spaghetti Bol with cauliflower and peas on the side. Children are encouraged to have a try of new things.

Lucyccfc Tue 25-Mar-14 08:08:13

My DS is very lucky then. At his school they have 3 choices of main meal, 2 different veg, rice or potatoes and 2 choices of pudding, as well as a salad and bread bar.

All for £2.

Although there are the odd days when he is not keen on all the choices.

AmberTheCat Tue 25-Mar-14 08:50:37

At my kids' school there's always a meat or veggie choice, and they can mix and match side dishes. They just have to say at registration whether they're having school dinners or packed lunch that day, then they choose what they actually want when they get there.

Most of the time they get their choice, but occasionally they'll have had a run on something and the kids at the end have to have whatever's left.

beingagoodmumishard Tue 25-Mar-14 17:40:50

At DS's school, we get 4 week menu at the beginning of each term. Each day there is a meat and a veggie option, plus a choice of potatoes or pasta and at least 2 vegetables.In addition jacket potatoes, wraps and sandwiches are on offer every day. There is also a dessert plus yoghurt and fresh fruit. Children have to hand in their dinner voucher every morning at registration with their choice of main meal. This system seems to work well.

Also, unlike a number of schools I have read about on here, there always seems to be enough food to feed everyone, and children love to be in the last sitting for lunch as they can have seconds or even thirds to ensure there is no waste.

The school had a tasting session for parents the other week, so we could try out various choices on the menu. School dinners, in our school at least, have definitely improved since I was at school envy

Fuzzymum1 Tue 25-Mar-14 21:36:58

DS3's school has two options which they pick from during register time in the morning. For example today's options were salmon nibbles (basically nuggets) in a wrap or cheese and potato pie. Yesterday it was sausages or tomato pasta.

Notcontent Tue 25-Mar-14 22:20:16

As other have said, at my dd's school there is choice on paper but not in practice. So even though the meals are free in our borough dd has a packed lunch.

Menolly Wed 26-Mar-14 10:25:39

DDs school have 3 options, 2 meat (or fish on a Friday) and 1 vegetarian, you can't swap between school lunch and packed lunch.

DS's school have no choice, (except on fish finger day they can choose between beans and peas) there are vegetarian meals but they have to have a letter from parents saying they are vegetarian to get those. They can swap between packed lunch and school lunch as often as they like though.

noramum Wed 26-Mar-14 12:31:57

Our school - and all other schools in our borough - have one meat and one veggie dish plus jacket potato with beans or cheese.

We can't order or swap during the week, it is either school dinner or packed lunch.

DD is in Y2 and now started also to refuse to eat and after one 1/2 term of more or less just some mouthful or jacket potatoes for the week she is on packed lunch now.

TimeForAnotherNameChange Wed 26-Mar-14 21:08:38

At our school the children have to choose their week's meals on Monday morning, and they are then shipped in to precisely those numbers - there's no alternatives because they choose in advance. And they are either on school provided meals or they are not, ie. you can't do it some days and not others, although there is a packed lunch option each day within the choices available to them. And you can only swap to or from school meals at the end of a term for the start of the next.

poopsydaisy Thu 27-Mar-14 07:36:18

My kids school is quite flexible - you choose on the day whether you want cooked or to take sandwiches. Then in the morning, if you've chosen cooked, you choose between veggie, meat OR if you don't like any of those, there is always a jacket potato option.

There is always bread and butter available if you decide you don't like the look of the main meal.

But we're in a large 3-class intake infant school, so perhaps more is on offer due to size of school

ilovepowerhoop Thu 27-Mar-14 21:38:34

ours has a main meal, snack option and a veggie meal plus a choice of baked potatoes/sandwiches, boxed salads, etc

we can choose day to day whether dd/ds have a school dinner/packed lunch.

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