To think the plan to ban packed lunches is crazy?

(118 Posts)
Notcontent Mon 11-Feb-13 10:24:46

Apparently one of the government's proposals to improve healthy eating is to ban packed lunches at schools. I understand the reasoning, that it's to address the problem of parents who send their child to school with a chocolate bar, a jam sandwich and a packet of crisps. And if all schools produced a varied menu of food cooked on the premises then I would be all for it but that's nom the case.

In the borough where I live in London all the schools get their food from a large catering company. The food sounds ok on paper but is really just mass produced slop. Also, while in theory there is choice, in practice there is not. My dd eats a very good range of foods but there are one or two things she doesn't eat and these ingredients seem to feature in every second school meal.

It's not one of the government's proposals, it's a suggestion by their advisors on schools lunches. I really can't see the government actually implementing it tbh. It's a stupid idea. If they were suggesting free, healthy school lunches then that's an idea that I could agree with (but they still shouldn't be compulsory IMO)

aldiwhore Mon 11-Feb-13 10:31:09

I think that the government has a nerve to preach about healthy eating in light of recent scandals that have highlighted just how unhealthy and tampered with all the food available is, unless you can afford organic. They are putting the cart before the horse (no pun intended) and need to sort out the food available to us and ensure it's quality, before telling us what we can and cannot feed our children.

I will homeschool if this comes into force.

Also school dinners are £2:10 per day per child, I can give my children packed lunches for less than that. If the school is going to pay fine, if not they can naff off.

Scheherezade Mon 11-Feb-13 10:31:32

I like jam sandwiches sad

JeffFaFa Mon 11-Feb-13 10:31:55

If ds1's school did this he would hardly, there is meals say 2-3 days out of 5 he would eat, when he has eaten there before hes had an upset stomach all night, i also find pack lunches far cheaper for me.

fluffyraggies Mon 11-Feb-13 10:33:04

The cost of a school meal at our local primary is £3.50 shock

Are these meals going to be subsidised? And if so where's the money going to come from?

I had 3 DCs at that school a few years ago. They had packed lunches. There's no way i would have been able to afford £52 per week.

WiseKneeHair Mon 11-Feb-13 10:34:01

They couldn't enforce it. If I refuse to pay for school dinners (as I would for DS1), then how are they going yo make me?

Pancakeflipper Mon 11-Feb-13 10:36:08

Stupid idea. Packed lunches can be very healthy and cheaper than school dinners.

My youngest has yet to start school but will not have school dinners as he has a food intolerance and it's easier for me, him and the school if I ensure his food is suitable for him.

kim147 Mon 11-Feb-13 10:36:33

The advisor said there were no plans like that today on Radio 4.

Notcontent Mon 11-Feb-13 10:39:39

MrsMini - yes, of course younger quite right, it's just one of the recommendations from that Leon guy and crew. And just how are they qualified to advise on this???

Aldi - yes, exactly - that's exactly what i was thinking too - cheap meat is even less appealing than before...

Incidentally, I was listening to an interesting radio programme yesterday about the meat scandal (horse gate!) and the point was made that suppliers to supermarkets and catering companies are under tremendous pressure to produce products at a certain price and often the only way they can do that is to try to source meat at the lowest possible price, and in that quest they will buy meat from any source they can.

TheWave Mon 11-Feb-13 10:40:24

There are always posters who defend jam sandwiches and the odd choc as a "treat" though.

Just do proper food, no crisps or chocs at all and save your treats for at home, so that the other children don't have to see and we wouldn't have to have the lunchbox police discussion.

sheeplikessleep Mon 11-Feb-13 10:40:39

I agree with you.

DS1 has cooked dinners 3 days a week, because I'm working and hate the faff of sandwiches. I've deliberately picked the two days that offer roast dinners and he really likes pizza, which we don't tend to have at home, so he has that as his third day. The other days they have some processed fish. He takes packed lunches on those days.

I was shocked at how unhealthy their meals are. Veg wise, he says he gets peas and sweetcorn, but that's it. Seriously, the lack of variety is shocking.

If I was more convinced of the nutritional value of school meals, he'd have them 5 days a week. From what I can see, they are processed, with 'token gestures' of veg.

On his packed lunches day, I feel confident he gets a much more balanced lunch.

Startail Mon 11-Feb-13 10:41:04

It's unenforceable.
They would have to be free to all or 1/2 of us would be in cort for refusing to pay for food DCs won't eat.

Many children's diets would be way worse as they would smuggle in mars bars and cans of pop.

The teachers would spend every break and dinner time scouring the dark corners if school for illicit eating, the litter situation would be awful.

MsVestibule Mon 11-Feb-13 10:41:27

It's a ridiculous idea and utterly unimplementable (did I just make up a new word there?). My DDs lunches cost £2 per day - I can make her her a good quality packed lunch for about 70p, which is quite a saving over the academic year. (I do actually pay for her school lunches because she really likes them and according to the stickers she gets every day, always clears her plate.) What happens when parents refused to pay? Would the children have to go without any lunch?

TBH, I bet this came out of one of those meetings when the person leading it said "Let's do a bit of blue sky thinking. I want all of your ideas on how to make children eat more healthily, however insane they may sound. Think outside the box, people." And then the meeting notes were leaked and the media jumped all over it.

Notcontent Mon 11-Feb-13 10:41:30

Thanks Kim!!!
I was so outraged by this... Walks off mumbling to herself....

fluffyraggies Mon 11-Feb-13 10:42:15

The thing is - this is like the whole dog licence argument.

And yes, wise, is it unenforceable.

Those that don't give a shit about their kids food would carry on not giving a shit. These parents will either not pay for the meals, (and then what will happen?) or not care if their children are not actually eating the meals (again, what will happen? School staff cant force children to eat).

gordyslovesheep Mon 11-Feb-13 10:43:59

Won't happen ...school dinners cost me £
6 a day I can't afford not to give then packed lunches ...no crisps,pop or chocs in them though

calandarbear Mon 11-Feb-13 10:45:15

I haven't heard this nor can I imagine it happening. I already think the rules on what can be taken in a packed lunch make it a healthier option than a school dinner. In any case my DS is another one who wouldn't eat most things on a school dinner and be very hungry, and I could not afford to pay for them both to have dinners, his packed lunch doesn't cost me anywhere near £1.90 a day often consisting of meat the night before's dinner or pasta salad again using left overs. And fruit from the garden in summer or an apple or banana in winter.

Osmiornica Mon 11-Feb-13 10:47:54

Our school dinner a few weeks ago was pizza with potato waffles - how is that healthy? Other days are just as bad with fishfingers, macaroni cheese etc.

I have 2 children and at £2 odd a day each would cost me a fortune. Packed lunches are not that much.

Eldest dd has hot dinners and dd2 has packed lunch. She has allergies and I wouldn't trust school meals to be ok for her tbh.

fluffy where do you live?? That's so expensive! Ours are £2.15 a day and that's in an 'expensive' borough..

And yes you can make pack lunch for less

Lovelygoldboots Mon 11-Feb-13 10:48:41

I am so old I can remember when everyone had school dinners, pre Thatcher. Pretty rank they were too.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 10:49:35

To my shame, I didn't listen to DS about how much he hated school lunches when he started school. He then spent a half a term not eating anything. His lovely teacher then pointed out that she wouldn't eat anything served to the children, and all my practicing of him making choices (because there were choices on the menu) were a waste of time because there was never enough of each item to enable children to make choices. (I'm hoping this is because they kept veggie food back for veggies and religious kids but wouldn't bet the house on it.)

There is no way I'd make my child eat a plate of processed slop at my expense.

ouryve Mon 11-Feb-13 10:49:52

Our primary school lunches are subsidised, at £1.50 each, but the portions are tiny and the boys won't eat most of what's on offer. Last time he was on school dinner, the weight fell off DS1 because he wasn't getting enough calories.

Given that most of the choices seemed to involve beef, pastry and a pudding of some sort of cake with custard, all (except the cake) things he doesn't even like, there's no wonder the weight was falling off him. He eats a decent range of veg, but doesn't like school dinner veg.

I'd rather he stuck with his sarnie (always with some salad in) plus a load of bits and pieces of varying healthiness.

Interesting reading everyone's comments on this thread, as it show just how much things have changed over the last 40 years or so. When I was at primary school (just over 40 years ago) everyone at my school had school lunches, apart from a very few hildren who lived close to the school and went home for lunch. There were no packed lunches.There was only ever one main course and one pudding option, but most children ate most of the lunch. No-one ever thought to refuse to pay or to smuggle junk food into the school.

The other thing that I wonder though, is if this went ahead, how would schools cope with children with food allergies? Far more children seem to have allergies and intolerances these days, and in the case of severe allergies I'm not sure a school canteen would be able to guarantee that all food would be safe for all children.

Panzee Mon 11-Feb-13 10:51:57

I would do this, but make all dinners free as well.

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