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My Children wont eat school dinners - still on packed lunches in September

(70 Posts)
destroyerOFdandelions Fri 01-Aug-14 00:03:17

Hi, My 1st son is turning 6 next week (youngest in his class) and moving into year 2. My middle child is 4 and starting school in the same class. It's a v.small primary school and years Reception 1 and 2 are in the same classroom.
Basically i have signed them up for school dinners, but they refuse to have them. My eldest has had them on occasion before, and he says he doesn't like people watching him go up to get his food. Also the times he did go for fish fingers for example, he didn't eat them as they had 'brown' bits in them and there wasn't any tomato sauce. So basically he's Mr grumpy at hometime and ravenous for tea at 3.30.
He says he will have a hot dinner or the Jacket Potato alternative if i go in and eat with him, but i also have a 11 month old and obviously paying £2.60 a day for my meal is out of the question.
My 4 year old doesn't want to have a hot dinner either, he's been going over with his packed lunch from playgroup and joining the main school children in the hall and is still refusing to try most new foods i offer him, even if the ingredients of which he eats separately.

They each have their own identical packed lunches every day - one philadelphia, one laughing cow sandwiches plus their preferred other bits and bobs. I have never sent them with crisps but other parents do, i send fruit based snacks like humzingers and a cake bar, cheesestring, yogurt tubes, bottle of squash etc so i can see why the school dinner alternative would leave them hungry, thinking about how many calories they would ultimately consume.

Just annoyed that i am missing out on not getting any free food for them. If i did make them have a hot lunch i'm sure i'd be doing tea early and then that leads to supper later on before bed so i'd be feeding them twice in the evening so not sure it would save me any money if i did force it on days when the menu is suitable.............

Does anyone else have this lunchtime problem?

MrsCakesPrecognition Fri 01-Aug-14 00:09:50

I'd be tempted to just tell them that they are having school dinners and leave them to it.
Is your eldest worried about carrying his tray (perhaps he's seen someone dropping one)? Could you give him some practice at home?
Does the school have the time and inclination to gently support and encourage them?

destroyerOFdandelions Fri 01-Aug-14 00:31:23

i just know from the menu he wont eat it most of it. They stopped doing fish fingers last term and did a tempura battered fish fillet. I went in for roast beef on mothers day and the roast potatoes were burnt, veg was frozen, and the pudding was crumble made with tinned fruit salad mixed in with the apple, and i dont think the crumble had seem any butter or sugar, was like flower dust, covered in what seemed like unsweetened custard. Not nice, and the water was rather chlorine tasting. At least with his packed lunch i can send him with some vimto to drink.

i'd rather know exactly what had been eaten from his lunchbox, and then cook at hot dinner when we get in.

The school can provide packed lunches, like when there is a school trip, but they cannot tell me if they can have a free packed lunch or if it only applies to hot dinners.

anamenotanumber Fri 01-Aug-14 00:37:22

Tbh cheese strings, humzingers and yoghurt tubes sound gimmicky and packed with sugar if you add in the squash. No wonder they don't like school lunches as your packed lunches are more fun.

Start sending plain cheese, water etc and a healthier non novelty fruit ie an apple and they might start to see school lunches are not the poor cousin of their lunchbox.

MrsCakesPrecognition Fri 01-Aug-14 00:38:18

Does Vimto come as squash now? I was visualising fizzy pop in a can blush.

level3at6months Fri 01-Aug-14 00:39:00

Even if the school did offer a packed lunch, you still wouldn't see how much they had eaten. Since you sound unimpressed by the quality of the hot dinners, I don't see what your complaint is, other than missing out on something 'free' which is actually costing your children's school a lot of money and hassle to offer.

SoonToBeSix Fri 01-Aug-14 00:54:53

Is this a joke thread, you send your child to school and give him cheese spread , processed cheese strings , cake bars , vimto , yoghurt tubes full of sugar. You might now what your dd is eating but you must be aware he is eating unhealthy crap surely?

SoonToBeSix Fri 01-Aug-14 00:55:54

Sorry ds.

titchy Fri 01-Aug-14 07:58:26

Agree send them in with a healthy packed lunch (that includes two proper portions fruit or veg - google if you're unsure), they'll switch soon enough.

Hakluyt Fri 01-Aug-14 08:03:02

I presume this is a wind up thread?

Soooo boring.

Mumof3xox Fri 01-Aug-14 08:05:54

Entitled much

Hope this is a wind up

Hakluyt Fri 01-Aug-14 08:09:37

Well, if it isn't a wind up, I'm going to save it to show all the people who get up in arms about "the lunch box police" and how it's outrageous that anyone would suggest they don't know how to make q healthy packed lunch....

tricot39 Fri 01-Aug-14 08:47:39

Yes we also have this problem. Yes we also have to send in less-than-healthy stuff in packed lunches to have a chance of it being eaten. It is a shame we cant take the offer lunches but then again we have no choice so cant worry.about it too much.

Therw are lots of snotty comments above which suggest that other posters are fortunate not to have experience of this. I also used to think that children would eat if they were hungry but pride comes before a fall. I now know.that this is not the case.

We have been told by professionals that it is better for children to eat foods considered as unhealthy and to continue to grow/learn than to go hungry and have their wellbeing and education compromised. Unfortunately this is something which well with the healthly food rhetoric so you will get a lit of criticism sad

Hoppinggreen Fri 01-Aug-14 09:02:54

Tricot, until a parent has had one of these so called " fussy" eaters I really don't think they are qualified to comment. I wouldn't have believed I could have a child who eats so little and with such a limited list of " acceptable" foods.
A child WILL go hungry rather than and peer pressure doesn't work either
My DD is in year 5 but if she was in Reception, 1 or 2 she would still be having packed lunches so I know she has eaten something.
DS happily eats his school lunches but I would rather pay for them than get free crap - but that's a whole other thread!!!

littleducks Fri 01-Aug-14 09:09:00

I don't understand why you wood want your children to eat horrible food because it is free? If the food was crap on the special mothers day when they were trying to impress people is going to be worse on other days

Notso Fri 01-Aug-14 09:13:36

Does anyone else have this lunchtime problem?

What is the problem? You don't like the dinners, your kids don't like dinners. They like packed lunch, you like packed lunch.
There is no problem.

SunnyRandall Fri 01-Aug-14 09:20:59

My dd will only be having the free lunches on the days she likes the food on offer. I will send her with a packed lunch on the other days. It is a non issue to me. School do offer a free packed lunch option but it is a small roll with cheese or ham, piece of fruit and a cake which isn't my idea of a good lunch so will provide my own.

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 01-Aug-14 09:32:10

I've sent my fussy 4 year old in with increasingly boring packed lunches over the last half term, leaving her begging to have school dinners so she can get 'pudding'.

pinkdelight Fri 01-Aug-14 09:49:50

Mine's the same. DS1, also age 6. There's about six kids in his class of 30 who haven't switched from packed lunches since the free meals came in. I loved school dinners and hated packed lunches, but he's very fussy and, like the OP, I know he wouldn't eat what they have on the menu so I suck it up. I send him with sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt tube, with crisps only on a Friday. On balance I'm fine with it. He eats a good meal in the evening, and the school dinners aren't wildly healthy, puddings etc. Am really hoping to get DS2 to eschew packed lunches though or I'll get well fed up of making them!

Toohotforfishandchips Fri 01-Aug-14 11:22:04

Our school lunches are great and the take up is thus very big. I would be lobbying the school to improve them if they are poor. My dd is getting school lunches and had simply been told that is what happens on reception grin I am fed up of making packed lunches !

littlejohnnydory Fri 01-Aug-14 21:04:50

I really wanted my 2 dc to have school dinners in September because they will be free - but when parents were invited to try the dinners as part of youngest's induction visit to Reception, I went in and found it was so poor that I don't want my children to eat them. I'm gutted as it would have been a huge saving.

destroyerOFdandelions Fri 01-Aug-14 21:46:38

anamenotanumber - actually there's nothing wrong with cheesetrings - they ARE plain?, humzingers and yoghurt tubes. salt levels in cheestrings are same as block cheese plus i then don't have to buy cling film to wrap cheese chunks in. Humzingers are equivalent fruit content to a single piece of fruit (my sons get fresh fruit at breaktime at school and in the evening) and the benefit of yoghurt tubes is you can freeze them and they double as an ice block which defrosts by lunchtime and keeps the rest of the food cool.

My son currently has lost his bottom front teeth so cannot bite an apple and have you seen the state of a banana after it's been squeezed into a lunchbox and banged on the side of their leg waiting in the line in the playground to go into their cloakroom!

They do need sugar in their diet, he scoffs his lunch in ten minutes and runs around in the playground for 50 mins before going back in at 1-3pm and they do need energy to be able to learn

destroyerOFdandelions Fri 01-Aug-14 21:56:36

SoonToBeSix - Unhealthy? Really? Why are solid pieces of fruit so much better than processed fruit? Fruit IS fruit in any form, it's about getting fibre into their diet and humzinger does that. I sent in whole apples and they come home with one bite out of them or uneaten and bruised so thrown away. And what have you got against philadelphia as a sandwich filling? Calcium is crucial for growing children. I have no reservation sending him in with 3 calcium rich foods (cheesstring/yogurt tubes/philadeplphia/laughing cow spread). He used to only want jam sandwiches so the fact he is accepting of philadelphia is a relief for me. Show me where the calcium is in a school meal, they dont even add milk to mashed potato! Some days the menu says they are also given a milk drink - DS said the kids are given cartons of banana milkshake - yuk!

You'll be saying i should not let him have cheerios/shreddies for breakfast next and give him unsweetened porridge with frozen berries or something equally unappealing.

Anyway, this was not intended to be about the content of his packed lunches, more that our family WILL NOT BENEFIT from the free school meals that is being introduced in september as we have been told the free food must be the hot food.

destroyerOFdandelions Fri 01-Aug-14 22:03:02

MrsCakesPrecognition, yes vimto is a squash, they do a regular and a non added sugar version, which is what we have. It has added vitamins in it compared to bog standard low sugar squash. FYI they also make rather nice ice lollies too, similar in shape to a mini milk! Lots of Vimto fans in our house.

BalloonSlayer Fri 01-Aug-14 22:03:58

My DS2 is adamant that he doesn't want free school dinners.

He is a fussy eater and doesn't like change and the more I tried to talk to him about it the more anxious he got.

He doesn't drink milk or eat yogurt so the cheese sandwich he has for lunch is very useful in getting him his daily allowance of calcium.

I hope he doesn't feel out on a limb with his packed lunch but he can always change his mind . . .

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