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School dinners - tiny portion sizes

(208 Posts)
QueenStarlight Thu 01-Oct-15 17:42:28

Can anyone advise what to do? My son and daughter attend different primary schools. Both say that they are hungry at dinner time after their dinners and that they only get a toddler size portion.

They have good breakfasts. A huge bowl of porridge or Weetabix (4 biscuits each) followed by yoghurt with lots of nuts and then a piece of fruit. Dinner is fairly late-ish but they get a snack when they get in from school.

Both are of athletic build.

I have never asked if they have enough, they both independently moan about it. I have spoken to the office of my daughter's school who have confirmed she finishes everything on her plate. I know my ds does as he always has.

I could send them in with an additional packed lunch but that kids of defeats the objective of school dinners (1 I pay for, 1 I don't).

Both offices have said there is bread, but this appears to be rationed also according to my children (as other kids who get it then don't eat their dinner).

I have no idea what to do next.

Pigwitch Thu 01-Oct-15 17:44:31

Can't you send them in with a packed lunch instead of them having school dinners?

Floralnomad Thu 01-Oct-15 17:45:09

I would say that the school does the correct size portion and your portion control is off ,what child eats 4 weetabix !

babyboomersrock Thu 01-Oct-15 17:49:26

That's a huge portion of Weetabix for children - it's mostly carbs though. Is the yoghurt sweetened? If it is, and they also have fruit, it's possible they're having too much carby/sugary food for breakfast.

Could they have eggs or cheese or something with more protein to start the day? They might not be so hungry come lunchtime.

Having said that, what do they actually have for lunch? Some school lunches are appalling.

QueenStarlight Thu 01-Oct-15 17:49:27

I could send them with a packed lunch but a)my daughters is free so additional expense and b)I have a million things to do in the morning and school dinners saves me worrying about nutrition and food as well.

My kids only only eat such big breakfasts since they have been complaining about being hungry at school. I was doing my best to mitigate the problem.

QueenStarlight Thu 01-Oct-15 17:50:23

They have natural full-fat yoghurt and no sugar on their Weetabix.

If I have time they have eggs as well/instead. They have dates and milk in their porridge, not sugar.

QueenStarlight Thu 01-Oct-15 17:56:15

I suppose I could try MORE protein in the mornings but I did think that yoghurt and nuts with occasional eggs was pretty good going.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 01-Oct-15 17:59:51

School lunch portions follow strict guidelines. It is much more likely your portion sizes are far too big.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 01-Oct-15 18:01:07

Just reread the op, that much breakfast is highly inappropriate for any child!

Floralnomad Thu 01-Oct-15 18:01:48

But the point is your DC have the ability to eat that amount of food ,most wouldn't be able to ,so your DC probably do have an unrealistic expectation of portion size. I'd just send a packed lunch .

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 01-Oct-15 18:04:43

Wow, they're HUGE portion siZes for anyone's breakfast. I'm not sure how they can be that hungry at breakfast if they have had a big dinner in the evening? You ARE giving them a big main meal in an evening aren't you? School lunches aren't really intended to replace the main meal of the day imo, they are there to prevent cases of kids having to make do with last night''s leftover chicken nuggets, a Mars bar and coke type of scenario.

slkk Thu 01-Oct-15 18:05:52

Some kids eat a lot and burn a lot. My boys seem to have endless pits and are very skinny. Could you send a snack for break-time? I know some schools portion sizes are tiny, especially for infants.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 01-Oct-15 18:06:34

Also curious as to what you mean by "athletic build."

Girlfriend36 Thu 01-Oct-15 18:07:46

I struggle to get my tall 9 yo to eat 1 weetabix for breakfast! I couldn't eat 4 shock even though what you are giving them is healthy it is too much food imo for a primary aged child.

If they are having a cooked meal plus pudding? I can't see how they wouldn't be getting enough, most schools allow for second helpings and at my dds school they have free access to yogurt and fruit if still hungry.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 01-Oct-15 18:08:55

do the lunches the night before. you might find expense will go down of they aren't having to binge eat to stay full.

AuntieStella Thu 01-Oct-15 18:10:19

Not knowing the actual amount of food the school serves, it's impossible too say for sure if it's inadequate, or if your DC are habituated to eating more than typical/healthy.

Does your school have a PTA who might have a look at the adequacy of serving sizes if a number of parents have similar concerns?

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 01-Oct-15 18:11:32

I think your children are obviously used to very large portions. An average sized school dinner is not going to feel the sane to them.

School isn't going to up their portion sizes to your huge standards so you have two choices really;
Continue with school dinners.
Send a packed lunch instead.

Palomb Thu 01-Oct-15 18:12:11

I'd be concerned about an adult that needed 4 wheatabix to fill them up, let alone a child under 11. My guess is you feed them so much their stomachs are used to huge quantities of food so normal portions aren't touching the sides.

2 is a normal portion of wheatabix for an adult.

bloodyteenagers Thu 01-Oct-15 18:14:52

I'm also intrigued to know what athletic build is.

What do they eat weekends and school holidays?

TillITookAnArrowToTheKnee Thu 01-Oct-15 18:15:54

Have you seen the school dinners? Or are you just going on what DCs say?

My DDs will occasionally scoff 3/4 plain Weetabix for breakfast on a weekend, but then they become lunch refusers and don't eat again until dinner time blush

Kitella Thu 01-Oct-15 18:17:27

You seem to be getting a bit of a hard time OP. But I sympathise. My DD is 'athletic' (muscly, but not an ounce of fat on her) and when she was at primary, school dinners were never enough (but she did 20 hours training of gym a week so burnt it off). We just had to supplement the school dinners, so she had a big breakfast, big snack, school lunch, packed lunch for after school and a second hot meal for after gym. She was still often hungry. Now she's given up gym, she's not hungry any more and has a normal appetite.

Bottom line, I don't think the school will do much, you'll need to supplement.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 01-Oct-15 18:19:13

Have they always been this way? I understand that children are sometimes bottomless pits (around a growth spurt for example) but to be consuming 4 wheetabix, a yoghurt, nuts and fruit of a morning every morning is extreme.

AsTimeGoesBy Thu 01-Oct-15 18:20:21

I asked DD recently if the portions were still big enough now she's in Year 5, she said yes but that it's too much for the infants and that they leave a lot.

patterkiller Thu 01-Oct-15 18:23:59

I do have to remind my dcs that you are supposed to feel hunger before a meal.

It's worrying that a lot of people today find the idea of being hungry alien to them. A constant state of fullness is not what we are built for.

Micah Thu 01-Oct-15 18:25:57

Are your children training 20+ hours a week o/p?

What exactly do you mean by athletic build? Mine are like kitella's, all muscle, but they do train 5 days a week.

I agree with pp. any child who eats 4 weetabix, plus yoghurt, plus nuts, is going to have a skewed idea of portion size. That's a 600 calorie breakfast, 3x a normal adult portion.

Mine rarely manage more than 1 weetabix.

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