School Dinners

School Dinners

‘Now, these chocolate brownies aren’t just chocolate brownies. They have had beetroot and courgette carefully disguised in them, they won’t even taste the difference between this and a normal chocolate brownie’.

The very nice dinner lady looked pleased with herself, witnessing the reaction of the parents. What a clever idea, let’s fool our children into getting 2 of their 5 a day.

My reaction was slightly different. “What a stupid idea,” I thought. My reason was simple. My oldest son likes courgette. It might be hard to believe but he also likes beetroot. He doesn’t need to be conned or tricked. He needs to be encouraged and educated, just like every other child that has just entered Primary 1.

This was parents open day. One of the proudest days of my life, getting to see where my little boy was going to grow and develop. It was all going amazing. Until that moment.

My partner knew that the food situation would annoy me, but reminded me that not everybody thinks like I do. So, fine, I let the chocolate brownie thing go.

“Next, we have chicken nuggets. Yes, it looks exactly like a chicken McNugget, but this one has been made with a low fat batter.”

“So this is healthier?, I asked.

“Oh yes, we want to make all of our foods as low in fat as possible,” was the reply.

I guess this means that the breakfast of smoked salmon and peppers that I give my children, and they adore, means I am contributing to their future ill health. What I should really be giving them is a fake chicken McNugget, with mashed potatoes and two pieces of carrot fluff. A plate of beige, white, and a wee bit of orange. Fantastic!!!!

Children’s food plates should be green, yellow, red, bright orange, crunchy, yummy, nutritious, and energy providing. A plate like this would give my son the energy to play in the playground, after lunch, run home, go swimming/footballing/kickboxing, do his homework well, sleep soundly, and wake up buzzing the next day to do it all again.

Yesterday’s school meal was bread crumbed fish, chips and soggy peas. This would give a child the energy to wander around the playground, get picked up at the school gates in the car and then be taken home to play the Xbox. Honestly!!!!!

Now I don’t want this article to make me out to be some super strict idiot with no sense of balance, which I am actively trying to preach. I love nothing more than coming home from work and sharing ice cream with my boys and girlfriend. But I am also very proud of the fact that when my children say they are hungry and want a snack they reach for an apple or banana or orange instead of a biscuit or some chocolate.

I think this also emphasises the responsibility of parents to be good role models in terms of healthy life structures. If the schools aren’t going to do it, it has to happen in the household.

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