School dinners have always had a certain reputation that can range from being too stodgy, inedible and unhealthy to now being too healthy and green.
Do you remember what your school dinners were like?
When I was at my Portsmouth infant and junior schools the dinners were very good. Home-made cottage pie, tasty spaghetti Bolognaise and delicious roast dinners were all enjoyed by me and my mates. Back then we were also allowed to go back for seconds.
When I went to secondary school at the age of 11, it all changed. Sadly, the stereotypical school dinner of lumpy mashed potato, overcooked vegetables and stinking cabbage became a reality.
I enjoyed the pizza but only after I’d used a tissue to soak up some of the grease that was sitting on top.
I didn’t always need to queue with a tray for my meal because sometimes I’d be sent to school with a home-made packed lunch, which would contain the usual sandwich, piece of fruit and a snack.
I remember this was the time of the day that I’d play swapsies. If I didn’t fancy the jam sandwich my mum or dad had made me, wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in my lunch box, I could exchange it with my mate who had chocolate spread. That way everyone was happy.
Now, in 2015, school dinners are more popular than ever and the lunchbox with its tasty contents is becoming extinct. Of course, these days school dinners are free to all infant school children so that has contributed to the decline.
I believe that another reason is because there are now too many rules attached to taking a packed lunch into school from home.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that the government is to allow schools to seize lunches from children that they deem to be ‘unhealthy and inappropriate’.
Apparently it’s a new assault on the so-called ‘childhood obesity epidemic’. Since then I’ve read many reports about food being confiscated from children as they’ve sat down at lunchtime.
One child had a cereal bar taken away from him as it was deemed unhealthy and another had a scotch egg taken away from her for the same reason.
When I think about my two daughters’ diet, sometimes they eat very healthily and fill their stomachs with vegetables, salads and fruit. Sometimes though they also enjoy burgers and chips, followed by a bag of crisps.
It’s about a mixed and varied diet with lots of the good stuff, a little bit of the so-called ‘bad’ stuff and plenty of exercise.
Reading about the whole packed lunch situation has made me worried because I love a scotch egg. Should I fear for my health?