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To wonder why school meals include a pudding every day

252 replies

LAgeDeRaisin · 21/03/2021 12:54

My DC aren't at school yet, but I had a look at our local primary school website today to read a bit about it. On the lunch section there is informarion about packed lunches including requests not sending in crisps/ sweets and cakes. Suggestions for lunches were included. All seemed pretty normal.

I've also had a look at the school dinner menu and there is a pudding every single day- sponge and custard, rice pudding, iced biscuits, brownies, etc.

In our house we will make a home made pudding at the weekend as a treat or if we have guests/it's an occasion, but meals through the week don't come with pudding.

AIBU to think that schools shouldn't be giving children pudding every day (especially if packed lunch boxes forbid it)? Could they not give some of their suggested sweet treats instead like malt loaf, fruit, yoghurt, etc?

What's the point in having a policy about not eating rubbish if you're handing out daily brownies?

Fully prepared to be called a bore.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

dementedpixie · 21/03/2021 12:56

They don't have to have the pudding. My dcs used to choose a biscuit or piece of home baking rather than a larger pudding


Thehop · 21/03/2021 12:56

YANBU at all. Drives me mad that my kids can’t have home baking in packed lunches whilst those on school lunch get sponge and custard


modgepodge · 21/03/2021 12:57

At my school, the portions are tiny (cake literally about an inch and a half cube) and often sneakily low sugar and full of hidden veg. Eg the brownies have beetroot in and there’s another one with corgette in it. There is always fresh fruit available and often yogurt too.


dementedpixie · 21/03/2021 12:57

Our school doesn't police lunch boxes so you could have a cake or biscuits or crisps if you want


likeamillpond · 21/03/2021 12:58

The only good thing about school dinners used to be the pudding.


NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 21/03/2021 12:58

Because young children need quite a lot of calories from carb & fat and "puddings" are a cheap, easy, and palatable way to provide them. You will find that those "puddings" contain sod all sugar, the sponges will often be made with things like carrot or beetroot and often the only sweet additions are fruit based.

School meals are done on an incredibly tight budget. Puddings are about the cheapest way to provide a lot of calories to a large number of children.


LAgeDeRaisin · 21/03/2021 12:58

@dementedpixie yes, I know they're not forced to eat it. But isn't it odd to say packed lunch can't or shouldn't include sugary treats, but offer sugary baking/puddings themselves?

OP posts:

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 21/03/2021 12:59

Oh and people who go on and on about sugar, please realise crisps are dreadful for your teeth as they stick in crevices and are starch which is rapidly broken down into sugars.


DarcyLewis · 21/03/2021 13:00

They’re cheap, school meals have to fulfil calorie needs on a very tight budget.
Plus they’re usually sugar free/low sugar and not very nice Grin


HoldontoOneMoreDay · 21/03/2021 13:00

YANBU. I'm in a part of Scotland where all FSM kids get a packed lunch on a Friday, Jesus Christ it used to make me weep - a shitty ham roll, cake, sweetened milk FGS. And yet school tried to police my DC's lunchbox? Nah pal. That's not happening.

School meals are, generally, a disgrace.


sunflowersandbuttercups · 21/03/2021 13:00

Most school "puddings" are tiny and they have to fall within health eating guidelines too. They're not puddings in any kind of nice sense of the word!


IggyAce · 21/03/2021 13:00

I’m a lunch time supervisor at a primary school, ours offer yoghurt, sugar free jelly, fruit and cheese & crackers as well as a biscuit, sponge and custard or rice pudding. I will say that the cakes do contain hidden fruit/vegetables. Some children also don’t bother with dessert if they don’t like the choices.
Also the portions aren’t huge.


NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 21/03/2021 13:01

Op they won't be sugary.

The reason they can offer it as part of the school meal is its controlled, there are dietary guidelines so it won't exceed certain amounts of sugar. Whereas if you allow it in packed lunches you will get tons of people sending shop bought cakes with about 20 times more sugar.


Pesimistic · 21/03/2021 13:02

If anything it should be a piece of fruit or a yoghurt. It's so annoying as my son now wants dessert after every meal and didn't before school, its not exactly a healthy habbit to form either, since school desserts are always aimed at cake, biscuit, icecream ect to get the children to eat school lunch instead of packed lunch.


ChessieFL · 21/03/2021 13:03

I do agree that it is unfair to say packed lunches can’t contain cake then serve it up to those having school dinners.

However I don’t object to school dinners including pudding. For many children the school dinners my be the only proper meal they get so pudding helps fill them up.


LucilleTheVampireBat · 21/03/2021 13:03

A piece of home baking. Wtf does that mean 🤣 No sponge and custard for me Miss Smith, I'd much rather have a piece of home baking.


RedMarauder · 21/03/2021 13:03

The reason they give a full meal with a pudding is that for some children they only get a proper meal while at school.

The packed lunch standards are to prevent said parents just giving their kids complete junk to save money on school dinners.

It's unfair but they are catering to the lowest common denominator e.g. parents, regardless of income level, who will just feed or let their kids eat rubbish for every meal.


NailsNeedDoing · 21/03/2021 13:03

They don’t offer sugary baking, there is next to no sugar in school cakes and they have to be made to a strict recipe, even our chocolate cake has beetroot in it. They’re not comparable to lunchbox treats like mini rolls or similar that are full of sugar and additives.

I used to disagree with children being given pudding after every lunch because it’s just not normal to have a pudding after every meal, especially lunch, but then it was pointed out to me that small children especially probably need the extra calories during a busy school day.


MarieDelaere · 21/03/2021 13:04

It's an interesting debate. On the one hand, these dinners are a lot of children's main meal of the day, and sometimes their only meal of the day. We need to really think about that.

The dinners need to be filling and nutritious. They also need to be paid for at some point by either a parent or a budget, and cooking a pudding that can be divided into portions (e.g. sponge pudding) can make a decent portion more affordable than one individual small yogurt. Sometimes there's not even that much difference in sugar content between a pudding and a fruit yogurt.

Also children have free fruit / vegetables at morning break in the younger year groups.

Having said that, I think lunch box rules can be a bit bonkers.


CuthbertDibbleandGrubb · 21/03/2021 13:04

Probably for historic reasons as in wartime it was to fill children up whose meals were limited otherwise. Easy to make I expect.

I wonder what Jamie Oliver's views are on this?


NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 21/03/2021 13:04

If a cake contains little sugar, the yoghurt you want to offer may often actually be more sugary. Even plain yoghurt with fruit contains natural sugars.

Cake and biscuits are fine when made in a healthy way. They can be little different to bread and children need far more carbohydrates than adults. Carrot cake etc is often made with lots of nuts in - it's a great way to get healthy things into children.


dementedpixie · 21/03/2021 13:06

@LucilleTheVampireBat its a small cake or muffin or a crispy cake type thing. Have you never heard the term home baking before? Pretty standard term where a live, sorry it makes you so amused Hmm


womaninatightspot · 21/03/2021 13:06

It's not true across the board though. My school does pudding 3 x a week starter of soup or melon other two days so completely possible to not have pudding every day.

They used to do pudding every day so if you feel strongly you could always speak to the PPG and try to change things. Meal plans are organised by council owned caterers on a rolling three week basis in my neck of the woods.


FamilyOfAliens · 21/03/2021 13:07


Most school "puddings" are tiny and they have to fall within health eating guidelines too. They're not puddings in any kind of nice sense of the word!

When I worked primary schools the kitchen staff would often bring round leftover cake and biscuits for the office staff. No one ate them because although they looked like a lovely bit of indulgence, they had so little sugar they tasted vile.

ClarkeGriffin · 21/03/2021 13:08

[quote LAgeDeRaisin]@dementedpixie yes, I know they're not forced to eat it. But isn't it odd to say packed lunch can't or shouldn't include sugary treats, but offer sugary baking/puddings themselves?[/quote]
Yeah I never understood this. It's a bit stupid.

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