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Dr McKenzie – I’m afraid I disagree with …

Comment posted Lochgilphead primary pupil’s internet exposure of poor school meals goes viral by scruff.

Dr McKenzie – I’m afraid I disagree with you about how suitable the meal was at Barcaldine school. It certainly looks as if it is cooked well, with good portions and I’m sure it tasted really nice, but is it appropriate for primary school kids or the menu of a roadside cafe?

For a lot of children this will be the only hot meal they have each day, is a meal high in sugars (bun), processed meat of unknown origin(burger), fats (chips) and a tablespoon of peas really acceptable.

I’m sure the dinner ladies at Barcaldine do a great job of encouraging the kids to eat the fruit and salad available but in the bigger schools they aren’t able to do this for all sorts of reasons. Would it not be more sensible to have the ‘healthy’ part of meal actually included in the meal instead of being seen as some sort of add-on which neither encourages or promotes healthy eating.

Looking at Martha’s pictures and Barcaldine’s, I would suggest that maybe Mr McFadyen should consider a serious revision of the school menu.

scruff also commented

  • Thank you Dr McKenzie, as you say actual meaning can sometimes get lost in translation.

    I think we both agree that all the dinner ladies do a fantastic job with the produce they are given and the discussion should not be interpreted as a reflection on their abilities.

    I would be interested to know if you feel the educational authorities approach to menu planning possibly reflects more the attitude we have in Scotland towards food and diet rather than it reflecting a healthy approach towards nutrition and overall well-being.

    Our attitude towards food and healthy eating in Scotland is pretty poor. Plenty of research and studies have clearly demonstrated that basically we are eating ourselves to an early grave and also an explosion in obesity. As you know, this is causing a huge drain on the NHS and we really need to be doing something about it now instead of waiting until it gets out of control. It won’t rectify itself overnight and will probably take a generation or two to fully resolve but we need to start sooner rather than later.

    An example of what I mean can be seen in comments people have made on here and in other blogs about how the kids have a choice of baked potato every day. Sounds good and a baked potato as part of a meal would be healthy but look at the choices they have to go with it, cheese or coleslaw or occasionally tuna. If you were able to get them all on the one potato at the same time then it would possibly start to reflect a healthy meal but not on their own.

    All it needs is a little bit of imagination, a baked potato topping of chilli-con-carne made with finely diced (or grated) onion, carrot, mushroom, courgette and locally produced mince. Cheap, healthy and tasty but also starts to broaden the palate of the children.

    Simple little changes now can make a big difference for the future but we need to start the shift away from the culture of stodgy, doughy pizza and potato wedges towards a much healthier approach to the food we give our children.

  • Dr McKenzie – I don’t think you mean to do it but you can’t half be patronising at times, personally I would prefer kids to have the cheaper cuts of beef slowly braised with carrots, onions, celery and mushrooms and proper mash potatoes or a nice fish pie made with cheaper sustainable fish or maybe a cabanata if you desperately want aubergines.

    And yes I did look at the menu for the school and no I’m not blaming the school or the cooks

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