The things kids eat

Last Wednesday afternoon I had a really difficult time with a class. How many children were in that class, my really difficult class? Just two!

The lesson was directly after lunch and yet it took one year ten boy thirty seven minutes to sit down and begin his lesson. Why? He was as high as a kite!  Later on when I discussed with him what he had had for his lunch I discovered possibly one of the main reasons behind his inability to sit down… What he had been given in his pack up to eat that day.

His lunchbox had contained; a round of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, a multi bag of Doritos, a Yorkie bar, a pack of rolos, a bag of Haribo and a Red Bull. Filled with sugar and processed foods he could literally concentrate for no more than a couple of seconds at a time and managed to break a chair and pull apart a pile of planners before even getting to his desk.  When sat there he could do nothing but babble on and continue to get himself into trouble for distracting the other boy in the class.lunchbox

Several months ago now I wrote about my anger over what students bring for lunch into school each day, so I know I’m repeating myself with this rant but it really annoys me!!!

This link popped up on a friend’s Facebook page recently.  Boy, six, who was suspended from school after taking a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox is now EXPELLED for his sausage roll and scotch egg habit.  Clearly after reading the article as a teacher I have assumed that the school has had issues with the parents supporting the school decisions to move forward and improve the lifestyles of the children at the school.  ‘‘If anything, Riley is underweight and could do with putting on a few pounds.’…This line really bugged me…you want your child to eat Mini Cheddars to gain weight?!  How is that in any way benefiting him and his health?!  I think that it’s excellent that schools have started to provide guidelines for what children should be eating at lunchtime.  So many parents appear to be uneducated and unable to make correct healthy choices for their children. More and more children are becoming classed as ‘obese’ but what worries me even more are those children who do not appear obviously overweight, but instead are damaging their insides by never touching a vegetable and living on fatty crisps and chocolate each day.

I love this link from Love from the Oven sharing loads of different lunchbox ideas.

lunches

Lunch can still be fun as well as healthy!

I am really interested in child health and welfare and would love a job working more directly with child nutrition and exercise.  I get so frustrated knowing that I am ‘just an ICT teacher’.

When I was at primary school my Mum used to pay for my brother and I to have the school dinners.  Our school was very insistent that you had to try every item on the menu, even if it was only a teaspoon full, and that you couldn’t just say ‘I don’t like it!’  I was an incredibly picky eater when I was younger and I would often miss a lot of my lunchtime over trying samples of foods but I find it much easier to try new foods now than Dan does, who used to go to school with a pack up each day.

Did you go to school with a packed lunch, or did you get school dinners?  What will you choose for your children?

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8 thoughts on “The things kids eat

  1. I’m really torn about this issue. I remember watching Jamie Oliver’s efforts to improve school meals, and while his heart was obviously in the right place, I don’t know that the execution of his plans was all that practical for long-term success. Yes, no-one should feed their kids junk all of the time, but there are several studies that have shown the government’s ‘healthy eating initiatives’ have proved be a trigger for eating disorders in some children. I know I became paranoid about ‘following the rules’ when it came to the hour a day of exercise kids were supposed to have, and I was an inherently lazy child…I can definitely see how the constant focus on food and anti-obesity messages would cause anxious and/or conscientious children to develop huge issues with what they eat at an early age.

    I’m not a fan of the didactic, sententious approach of many schools when it comes to issues which are really insignificant compared to some of the other problems going on. My school was more focused on making sure people’s ties were the right length than they were about making sure someone wasn’t verbally and/or physically abusing me on a daily basis. I get the feeling that controlling kids’ lunches has the same kind of tone to it, as it were…excluding a pupil because his parents don’t conform to these draconian lunchbox checks just smacks of the ‘because we can’ mentality of some schools. The example you gave was an extreme one, and I absolutely agree that the content of that boy’s lunch is disgraceful (who in their right mind gives a child Red Bull?), but at the same time I don’t think that children should be given hang-ups about certain foods and have teachers rifling through their lunches. Educate the parents, yes, and provide incentives or encouragement to bring healthier alternatives, but don’t make food an issue or demonize it…and don’t move into Nanny State territory.

    My school had awful school dinners, and we were made to finish every bite of the first course otherwise there would be no dessert. That’s not right – the whole ‘clean plate’ mentality has been linked to binge eating and overeating. The worst instance I can think of for me personally was almost being forced into eating a lunch containing meat because someone had forgotten to put out/set aside my vegetarian option…I stuck to packed lunches religiously after that. I didn’t eat it, but I ended up in so much trouble until the issue was cleared up…I don’t think teachers or dinner monitors should have any right to interfere on a level that could seriously upset children and skew their relationship with food.
    Jess recently posted…Deadly Diets and Extreme Exercise?My Profile

    1. I can completely see where you’re coming from and I feel that the Government should be educating the parents, rather than the children as children are so impressionable. Every day I see parents that were never educated about child nutrition or who were brought up on poor food choices, then passing this onto their own children.
      Long gone are the days of punishing a student for something they did wrong. We can issue detentions but the majority of kids at our school actually want this, as it means they can do their work whilst hanging around waiting for hours for parents to pick them up. Unfortunately this means that students are less worried about getting told off. When I was at school it was a massive thing if you got sent outside a classroom or if the headteacher saw you’d been sent out. Now, students chat back to the head, swear and so many have very little respect. Unfortunately this means that schools are grasping to regain some sort of control and often fighting a losing battle.
      I also am not a huge fan of the finish every bite. Although I tried things I would not have tried otherwise, which is a positive, some days I can remember really not being hungry and trying to force feed myself the food so I could get out to play. I can’t believe that you were almost forced to eat meat as a vegetarian! That’s horrendous!
      The more work I do with children and schools the more plus points I can see for home educating children. But then I’m unsure as to how to protect children from the real world and it’s horrors later in life. What is best?!

  2. I don’t know what the answer is to educating parents on what to feed their children at lunchtimes or if there is a way to educate and it’s not sometimes a money issue. I’m not sure but it genuinely is terrifying knowing what children are given for lunch – I can assure you that when I was at school there is no chance I was sent to school with anything that high in sugar involved in my diet!! Shocking at how much the sugar affected that boy though – I would not have had the patience to deal with a child that high on sugar!
    x
    emskiruns recently posted…Stella & Dot Wishlist!My Profile

    1. It’s a daily occurance with some children unfortunately, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. It is terrifying knowing what children eat in the day. In my new school I am yet to see a child eat an apple at breaktime. They’re all munching on packets of crisps and sweets in the playground. I’m very tempted to see if I could put on some healthy eating advice sessions for parents to help educate them on how to provide better substance for lunchboxes.

  3. The range of lunches at my school is crazy- some children have lovely lunches with pasta salad, or hummus and veggies to dip, or sandwiches, fruit, water, and some have just shocking stuff- just processed junk like those lunchables (the marketing of stuff like that to kids and parents makes me so angry too- munch bunch yoghurts stuffed with sugar etc), cakes, sweets, chocolate…
    We try educating parents by sending home leaflets (a parent who was also a dietician made a leaflet for the school with so many lovely ideas) but there is just a huge split. Also the school dinners are awful- carb heavy (you can have pasta, with plain pasta and potatoes on the side, plus the size of the cakes for dessert are huge) so that is not the answer for those families anyway.
    We also have kids who come to school without breakfast, which I just think is awful.
    My mum made me have school dinners when I was little- at my Infant school I got quite good at trying new things, as like you they would make you have two mouthfuls of anything new. But then my middle and secondary schools were basically canteens so it was chips, beans and rubbish every day. I never liked meat so was seen as fussy due to that, but I think now I am pretty good at trying new things so long as they are veggie.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Monday night chilliMy Profile

    1. Why do you need pasta and potatoes together?! One meal that really annoys me when out is lasagna and chips. Put it with a salad!
      My last school was big enough that they had a breakfast club, providing toast and jam (literally costing just pennies) for children that had come in without breakfast.
      At high school we had a canteen and I started off having a cheese salad roll, bag of crisps, cake and milk every day (This used to cost £1.11 but rolls in the school canteen are now £1.60!), and then chips and pizza on Fridays. By the second year though I had begun to not eat at all as it wasn’t monitored and I put aside my lunchmoney to help increase the savings in my bank account.
      The leaflets is a great idea, surely it would work out cheaper for parents to make their own food for the week rather than buy the processed rubbish. Those lunchables things are so expensive per pot!

  4. I get so angry about people – not just parents – who say they don’t have time to cook or make the effort with food. If you don’t make the effort now you will be forced to make the effort later when it comes back at you as an illness, obesity or early death. The fact that parents aren’t setting a good example to their children and setting the foundations of healthy choices when they’re young is just outrageous. It just takes a bit of planning and preparation. No one can say they don’t have time when most people sit in front of the telly several hours in an evening. What about THAT time??
    Red Bull for a child? This is OUTRAGEOUS. I feel for you trying to teach these students when clearly they are buzzing. This just makes me sad :(
    Obviously I don’t have kids so can’t really point my finger too much but I really hope that I send my child to school with a full tummy from a good breakfast and a balanced packed lunch.
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Marathon Talk Weekend – Part 1My Profile

    1. One teacher I worked with last year told me that she had pizza five nights running once because she was too busy to cook for her kids! Her kids were 9 and 14. I’m sure they thought it was great, but I doubt their bodies did! I’ve started to get into a routine of planning ahead for the week now and it helps massively both on cost and time. Tonight I’m cooking a gammon joint, as today’s my day off work, and the meat will then last us for a risotto, pasta bake, and casserole later in the week.
      The number of children that come in to school with a Red Bull or Lucozade is unbelievable. How can parents justify sending their child in with an energy drink?!
      I feel very much the same way as you…people need to MAKE time to eat properly, otherwise they will be paying for it later on in life.

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