Monday, 14 June 2010

School Dinners

Recently I was invited to a mother’s focus group to discuss the nutritional value of school dinners. I was willing to participate as the subject of healthy eating is one of my interests. So far I’ve had very few problems with school dinners, my nine year old son has a good appetite and enjoys just about anything on offer.

My only concern is that if he is still hungry after a school dinner he should have the option of seconds which is not always the case. I also like the fish meals to be fresh and am not so sure fish fingers are in that category; however the nutritional advisor present on that day did say the fish fingers were filled with fresh salmon.

I also suggested that as the children were mostly active during the day and using lots of energy it would be beneficial if they had a small health snack on the first break of the day and the last as this would keep their blood sugar at a good level.

We want our children healthy but also want them to be able to concentrate at school and focus properly on their work and to feel happy.

Some health foods are not filling such as veg and fruit, so this is the good reason why regular eating is a necessity. Junk foods such as chocolates, biscuits, cakes and crisps tend to be more filling but in the end lead to ill health and obesity if eaten in large quantities on a regular basis. What really annoys me is that many of these foods are a lot cheaper then the health ones and this is so discouraging for those on a low budget. I do think mothers can be very supportive over this issue as everyone I know always has something to say on the subject and lots of great ideas; I never tire of listening to them.

At the focus group many of the mothers voiced their concern on the lack of meals suitable for children with allergies. Some were unhappy for the children that could only eat halal meat, as the school did not provide this; the children were left with only vegetarian meals. There were others who suggested a budget rate for those with siblings in the school. The meeting carried on for a lot longer then planned whilst mothers complained and suggested more and more options.

I found this to be very interesting and learnt a lot but, at the same time, I could not help wondering if maybe we were a little ungrateful, with so many starving children in the world, and how grateful they would be to have our school dinners, I left the meeting feeling thankful that my children can have so much choice as they don’t just eat at the school, so what’s missing in the school I can provide at home. Although I still maintain the opinion that its wonderful schools are changing and monitoring our children’s menu



  1. Comments (1):
    I tend to agree with you about being grateful that our children at least have food...I do feel bad for those who can only eat halal meat, I don't see why they can't put it also on the menu, children need proper, regular meals so any exceptions, like food allergies, halal meat etc should be taken into consideration! It's not the childrens fault if they are restricted to certain foods. Childrens health should be treated as a major priority!!
    Posted by Margaret Rose. 10:09:26 14.06.2010;

  2. Interesting that you mentioned childrens retricted diet, this is so true! if the children are not allowed eat certain foods and there is nothing on the school dinners menu that their allowed to eat they simply won't eat. Schools have to follow the Every Child Matters Act. Vivian