The Department of Education are encouraging everyone to think about their own #SchoolMealMemories to raise awareness for the free school meals in England. I used to love school dinners,
all those puddings with custard especially and I have fond memories of the
kindly dinner ladies who were there to help.
One in particular gives me a friendly reception now years on. I had my moments with the dinners I could
not get a taste for semolina,
even when the dinner ladies added a generous topping of jam! But as a whole I had a positive experience
of school dinners as a child, although I don’t think that the sheer number of
sponge puddings I consumed might have been the healthiest of options or
particularly good for my waistline…
I was a little sad when I had to take packed lunches
instead to save money for my parents.
Although when your struggling, juggling childcare and expensive
household bills it can be hard finding the money to pay for those dinners, so I
understood the sacrifices we had to make.
Mind you the contents of packed lunches soon add up! I did experiment with this to see if I could
save any money, but in reality the school dinner was no more expensive and I
had the convenience of someone else having the hard work of making the boys
Now is the best time to take up school dinners and see the
gains for your family. In England from
September children in the reception, year 1 and year 2 classes will begin to
benefit from free school dinners. It’s
a wonderful idea as children will benefit from the variety of trying different
foods. Often you feel uninspired with
pack lunches and the child ends up with the same contents day in and day out.
My boys both have school dinners at the moment and they
have their own favourite meals. It is
handy knowing they will have a wholesome warm meal during the winter months and
I think its worth spending a few pounds a day to ensure they have something
more nutritious. The school actually
sent a letter round, as the packed lunches parents were sending in were so
unhealthy! No fruit or vegetable sticks
in the majority of them, just lots and lots of sweets and chocolate, washed
down with a highly sweetened drink! School dinners on the other hand have to meet national standards for nutrition.
The Children’s Food Trust website gives you some idea how great school dinners are these
days. I am impressed with some of the
items my boys are mentioning sampling like courgette cake, its fabulous that
schools are cramming in some sneaky vegetables even into their puddings. They also seem to have a lot of flapjacks
crammed with fruit and yoghurts. I
think I would pine for my steamed puddings of old but I know my boys are
developing healthy eating habits, which makes me a happy parent. Hopefully they will avoid being burdened
with my sweet tooth this way…