I'm an anomaly. I loved school dinners.
To be fair, as a child — and as an adult — I'd eat pretty much anything. Custard skin, lumpy mash and dry fish fingers. Nothing was unpalatable to the greedy mini me.
Neither of my children inherited the unfussy gene. They're happiest eating sandwiches or breakfast cereals. At home I do my best to instil the menu with as much nourishment as possible. Peanut butter and apple on Vogel bread; cucumber and carrot crudites on the side of every meal. Proper food (ie: not breakfast fare) at least once a day and no desserts other than fruit, natural yoghurt or perhaps a handful of nuts - for the child who actually eats nuts. (sigh)
What I object to are the meals they are served at school. State school budgets being what they are (teeny, tiny) contract caterers are hired to do the best they can on a tiny sum. But why do they then provide is a menu that most under 11's are more than likely to turn their noses up at. And then, instead of sitting them down at a table with one meal for them to share and taste, family-style, the school gives the the opt-out of a sandwich or baked potato .
As a result, several days a week, my offspring invariably choose a parev cream cheese sandwich on white bread. White bread!!! There's more nutritients in their text books. And I pay good money for my Year 4 son to make these questionable nutritional choices. Accompanying that will be a lonely wheel of cucumber — two if he's lucky — and a solo carrot stick.
While I'm ranting, I'm also furious that they then offer them pudding. Who hasn't heard that sugar is the devil's work? Why on earth do they need to end their meals with anything other than fruit? Or perhaps they need the sugar fix to keep going after the meagre rations. I refuse to send a treat in my son's lunchbox - yes, I know i'm the worst sort of mother - so he said today he wants to switch to a school lunch every day. At least he can get a sugary treat that way.... (sigh)
I know it's all about budget, and that kosher meat (in fact all kosher food) tends to be an expensive commodity, but surely we must be able to do better by our children.