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AIBU

To expect children have enough to eat?

(59 Posts)
gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 12:41:04

Apparently some children are being sent to school with a "lunch" of a few cold chips or a packet of biscuits.

Should this really be going on in 2013? Are we heading back to the dark ages?

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284069/Children-sent-school-biscuits-cold-chips-lunch-cost-everyday-goods-rockets-threefold.html

Dresden Mon 25-Feb-13 20:01:07

I think that it is very sad that children don't get proper meals every day, and really it is the parents' responsibilty basically. If they genuinely can't afford to feed their children there are free school meals and also charities that help by providing food for desperate families.

I feel that it is a problem in society. Years ago people felt they had to keep up a certain standard in terms of looking after their families, or the neighbours would judge them. Now it is not considered acceptable to criticise anyone's life choices and if someone has the temerity to do that, they get very short shrift.

I used to have a friend whose children were privately educated but got a very unsuitable diet at home, with meals, if any, at weird times.She would often buy a ready cooked chicken and let them eat it in the back of the car on the way home from school. Other times they seemed to live on a diet of crisps, so it 's not just a question of lack of money.

JessM Mon 25-Feb-13 20:15:26

deeda you use a flat heating surface with a minimal amount of fat on it I guess. As opposed to a frying pan with a big puddle of oil in the bottom..

LullyDully Mon 25-Feb-13 20:17:13

No you are right, some people can not and will not put their children first. Not only the poor are guilty.

When fruit was first given to KS1 cuildren many would turn their noses up at it. We found they got used to it generally.

Ana Mon 25-Feb-13 20:30:16

Dresden, I agree with the first two paragraphs of your post. Some parents do get affronted by any suggestion that they might not be giving their children a healthy diet - remember the mothers passing burgers through the school railings when the Jamie Oliver school meals drive was going on?

You'll hear parents say that their children 'won't eat' things like salad or vegetables, but it's usually because they've not been introduced into their diet from an early age. Cold chips, though? I can't imagine who would really enjoy those...confused

Bags Mon 25-Feb-13 21:13:57

Isn't a frying pan a flat surface and couldn't a small amount of cooking fat be used? It really sounds as if problems are being invented rather than cured! The pudding thing is ridiculous too.

gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 21:40:52

My grandchildren would rather have 2 plates of veg than a pudding any day.

You are right LullyDully many of the children in my granddaughters reception class will not suffer the fruit delivered by " the fruit man". They are usually offered either a small apple, banana, orange or some cherry tomatoes. My GD claps her hands if its cherry tomatoes as none of her friends will eat them so she has an extra large portion. Yummy. smile

glammanana Tue 26-Feb-13 11:35:11

gillybob I have a GD just like your's she will raid the fridge for tomatoes and grapes and DD cannot keep up with her some days,she goes to the fridge and not a tomato in sight.Both of my youngest DGCs are skinny minnies not an ounce of fat on them but they are the healthiest of children and they are very rarely unwell all down to the fruit and veg that they eat.Always on the kitchen table is a vast amount of fruit and DD does not find it expensive to provide this as she says it would cost more per week to supply crisps and sweets and convienience foods.

annodomini Tue 26-Feb-13 11:49:39

My youngest GS (like his uncle as a child) loves cucumbers and will also raid the fruit bowl when nobody's looking. He and his brother are not fussy eaters and will more or less eat what's put in front of them. When the older one started school, his mum was surprised to hear that even in the reception class the majority of children took packed lunches and she didn't think this appropriate for a child of only just four. She compromised by giving him sandwiches on Fridays but the rest of the week he had school dinners.

LullyDully Tue 26-Feb-13 12:03:59

It is amazig how many kids enjoy cucumber ! My Gch do, but will fight over broccolli and sprouts. Dead easy to feed. Sadly gone off fish but may come back to it.

granjura Tue 26-Feb-13 15:13:46

What measure could be taken to ensure that parents do take responsibility for feeding their children? Those who can't afford to do get benefits- so how could we ensure that it is spent on good food? Many of the children who had free school meals at the secondary schools I taught at made really unhealthy choices for the available money - like a plate of chips with several sugary cakes and a sugary drink - but any suggestion that a roughly balanced meal had to be chosen was considered an attack on personal rights.

Bags Tue 26-Feb-13 15:38:58

I notice that we're not talking about children having enough to eat any more, but about whether they eat what is regarded as a good enough (healthy) diet. Meanwhile childhood obesity is the highest it's ever been. I'm sure the problem exists, but I doubt if children not getting enough to eat is a big problem in this country.

vampirequeen Tue 26-Feb-13 15:58:30

I've worked with children who were so underweight you couldn't miss they were malnourished. Naturally they get the input as do the children who are overweight because they were malnourished too. The most worrying though are those who conform to the norms when the bmi tests are done. I've seen children who's teeth are black from too much sugar, who rarely drink milk, eat dairy products or fresh vegetables and live pretty much on takeaways but they don't get monitored even though they're probably the most malnourished of all.

JessM Tue 26-Feb-13 17:00:33

Go to a school in a wealthy area and observe the average size of the 15 year olds. Then go to a school in a poorer area not far away - you'll notice the 15 year olds are smaller. And then compare a "top set" in maths or english in that poorer school with the kids in the "remedial set" - you will notice an even more pronounced size difference with many of the slower pupils at this age looking more like 12 year olds. sad

Bags Tue 26-Feb-13 17:35:56

It is surprising, isn't it, that in this age of universal education, that gap has not narrowed more.

JessM Tue 26-Feb-13 18:16:27

Yes it is. And we hear a lot about obesity. But to be honest, in really impoverished areas, not that common (certainly not the very impoverished area that I am thinking about)

JessM Tue 26-Feb-13 18:16:48

And they come to school with disintegrating shoes. sad

granjura Tue 26-Feb-13 18:37:39

One of the students in my tutor group used to come to school with tattered shoes, and we knew mum was struggling bringing the kids up on her own. The Senior teacher team met with the Head of Board of Governors, and decided to visit to tell her the school would pay for a pair of sturdy school shoes for the boys. She presented a bill for Timberlands at £80 a pair (15 years ago). A vicious circle. The UK is unique in its support of those in need, and that is so wonderful. But some get into a vicious circle of need which gets passed on from generation to generation. Comparing with other countries I've lived and worked with, I just do not know what the answer is. But the UK system of care does seem to create long-term dependency for far too many.

harrigran Tue 26-Feb-13 19:22:00

I have heard mothers say " oh he wouldn't wear those shoes/trainers, it doesn't have the right name on " How come they can afford to be so choosy ?
JessM I do agree with what you are saying and such a shame that children may be deprived of a good diet whist the parents continue to smoke.

POGS Tue 26-Feb-13 19:51:07

I am shocked that some schools do not have kitchens, as Jess M pointed out.

That means there are schools where a hot meal cannot be provided.

My GC had a lot of trouble with her teeth. The dentist told us it was her diet. Too much fruit. confused Can't win sometimes.

vampirequeen Tue 26-Feb-13 20:30:45

I worked in a school where the kitchen produced meals for several other schools and meals on wheels. The food was taken in insulated boxes. I was always glad we got it freshly made.

Deedaa Tue 26-Feb-13 20:56:10

Thank you for that JessM I suppose I have cooked them like that when I've been "slimming". Actually it was very slimming as they were horrible so didn't get eaten grin

Bags Wed 27-Feb-13 07:34:59

Been thinking... People eat cold pasta and cold potato salad. Jane Eyre ate cold porridge that would otherwise have been given to the pigs, and was glad of it. After all, cold food is just as nourishing as hot food, if not always as pleasant to eat. But, who knows, maybe some people like cold chips, and how many is a few?

So, I'm thinking, that a 'few' cold chips for lunch might be fine actually, if that's what you like. If I liked cold chips, I might well have them for lunch sometimes, just as I sometimes have and apple and a slab of chocolate (good (and I mean good) mountain food). I think that because we can be so choosy, we are getting too picky and too critical of what is in fact good food.

How do I know potatos are good food? Well, Irish peasants, including some of my ancestors, lived on them as a staple for generations and not only survived but increased their survival rate. That's the bottom line – survival to reproduce offspring that also survives to reproduce. How life works.

Bags Wed 27-Feb-13 07:40:35

I expect the Irish peasants ate them cold quite often too.

JessM Wed 27-Feb-13 07:55:43

We went to italy on holiday once. My DH, half Irish, was delighted to discover that they had a kind of large ravoili with a potato based stuffing.
I suppose potato growing in Ireland meant that it was much easier to produce calories from a small patch of dampish land than by growing any other crop.
The graph of population decline (death and emigration) is extremely steep - it halved.
It is not necessarily the case that parents are all smoking at the expense of their children's diets harrigran. In some cases no doubt. But have you ever tried to feed a family and pay the bills while receiving benefits? It is not much money.
Food banks are becoming common in UK cities and it must be embarrassing to turn up and ask for help.

absent Wed 27-Feb-13 07:57:55

JessM The government has commissioned research into why food banks are being and have been set up all over the country. Well that's money well spent. confused