Comment posted School Meals saga: Council distorts facts and blocks Martha’s blog by Jenny.
I work in a school kitchen (not in the area mentioned however) and yes we struggle every day to try and encourage children to eat a balanced meal. In my area we have 3 choices of main meals every day from chicken wraps to macaroni cheese, steak pie, chicken curry…all served with potatoes, wedges, mash, rice, pasta….as well as vegetables, pasta salad, rice salad, cucumber, tomato etc…and also various breads offered. Sadly many children will not eat the vast majority of food on offer. They shun all vegetables and salads despite the dinner ladies encouragement. Yes we do have kids wandering off with only a chicken wrap, refusing all the other food on offer. This is hardly the fault of the school or the dinner ladies. If children accepted everything they are entitled to they certainly would not be hungry!
Jenny also commented
- I agree with you but sadly lots of children in the school I work in will not eat anything remotely healthy. We have 3 choices of main meals on our menu each day and yes we do offer pizza, macaroni, sausages as a third choice simply because the children in question would go hungry rather than eat the healthy alternative. The vast majority of them are not obese and it is their only hot meal of the day. It is a really difficult situation and not as black and white as it would appear.
- Sorry, I know dinner ladies haven’t been given any flack on this site….I meant that generally we do get more than our fair share of criticism. In 2 newspapers that I have read this week columnists have blasted us (without checking out the facts first)The same happened when Jamie Oliver highlighted unhealthy school meals. We had already changed our menus long before Jamie Oliver became involved but still we came in for general flack from press and columnists. I would also like to add that our menu needed a lot of tweaking back then as children simply would not eat the healthy fare on offer and meal numbers dropped to an all time low! Even now, things like fresh fruit salad will see children go without dessert as they just won’t eat it! It’s very difficult and I don’t have a solution sadly. Perhaps if parents introduced their children to a healthy and varied diet before they started school it might go a long way to solving the problem. While I think it is the job of school kitchens and dinner ladies to carry on healthy eating that has been learned at home, I don’t think it is our job to introduce the whole idea of nutricious food.
- Thanks Calum! Once again we dinner ladies are coming in for all kinds of abuse and as I stated before there is nothing at all we can do about it. I can’t comment on the school in question but it certainly looks like the wee girl chose not to take all that was on offer. We do 200+ lunches every day in our school and this all has to be ready and served in very tight time limits due to only having an hour for lunch break. In an ideal world we could all be like Jamie Oliver…cooking very healthy meals from scratch but sadly dinner ladies don’t have that luxury. I throw out a challenge to everyone who is complaining…..arrive at work 8.30….cook 200+ meals and serve them all (remembering to encourage healthy choices to all children) in the time available! Deal with the children who won’t eat anything green or remotely healthy….and deal with all the complaints and flack from parents, press and 9 year olds….and all for minimum wage! This whole “news” item should have been investigated further before going to press. Once again the low paid and overworked are being chastised for something they have no control over. Healthy eating begins at home. You can’t expect your children to make healthy choices at school if they are fed rubbish at home.
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