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The “Packed Lunch” Debate. Pro-Choice.

I saw and read some of the comments and opinions on packed lunches, and those who are both for and against. I have to say that there is a world of difference between the quality and content of packed lunches from school to school and I’ve heard of  really good ones and some really awful ones.

With the price of a dinner ticket increasing to £2.20 per child a day, it’s not an option every parent can afford.  A friend of mine has 6 children and the costs for her for packed lunches every day would be £66 a week, or £264 a month. Not everyone can afford to pay that out every month when they could fill a lunch box with food from the fridge every day with a little planning.

I am lucky enough that if I wanted to, I could send my kids for a school dinner every day, but the big point is that they don’t always want a school dinner.  Some school dinners are ok and they are happy to eat them, but others they find awful, without taste, and complain about how disgusting they are.

I imagine it’s a bit like an NHS hospital versus a Private one, or actually, even in Aberdeen, the quality of food in the main hospital always seems to be lacking in comparison to the food at an offshoot site.

I know my kids sometimes ask for a packed lunch at Primary and sometimes ask for a school lunch.  It’s very dependent on what is on offer and what they think of how it’s cooked.

  • My kids love fish, but won’t eat the Primary school version which they complain has hardly any fish in it and looks like a sliver of grey backed dingy stuff.  I’ve not seen it so I can’t comment personally.
  • The puddings are “fine,” says my youngest.
  • Working with some children at the school, they said that most of their friends take packed lunches as the school ones are often disgusting.

If a school banned packed lunches, I think they will have overstepped the mark into parenting and choice of food for their children.

Yes, I agree that some parents might put things into school lunches that others don’t agree with, but in a few short years, they’ll head to secondary school and then just eat chips from the nearest bakery or junk food store anyway.

I don’t see the point in meeting nutritional guidelines for food that is served up if the food is poor quality and kids don’t want to eat it.  I really would grudge spending £2.20 a day for my child to eat a piece of bread and a pudding as there wasn’t anything else they wanted on that day.

I’m against school lunches being mandatory and I am for pro-parental choice.

I have no problem with guidelines and help for parents to make better packed lunch choices than some people make, but if I had a child who would only eat rice krispies and simply put their school lunch in the bin, I’d rather they ate rice krispies from a packed lunch than ate nothing at all.   Most parents can make up the difference with an evening meal and headteachers being given the option of helicoptering the parents decisions is just plain wrong.

We don’t live in a nanny state that takes decisions away from the parents in other aspects of school life, so why for food?  Why is food important to tackle, but behaviour left to the parents to cope with?  I know which one I’d rather the school took responsibility for.  Blaming all poor behaviour on diet is just plain wrong.

If our local school made school lunches mandatory, I’d move my kids to one where it wasn’t.  I have children who don’t wait in line well, and there are some days that my child just knows he can’t cope with losing 10 minutes of his lunch break standing queuing for his dinner, as it takes too much time away from getting outside and running around for exercise.