Schools Ban on Packed Lunches

My children take packed lunches to school. For me, as a parent, this is a way I monitor the amount of food my children eat of a lunch time, as any uneaten food comes home. Also, having a child who takes medication, which suppresses his appetite, I need to know how much he’s eating to make sure he is getting enough calories per day.

I was quite alarmed this morning, when listening to my new found favourite radio station, LBC 97.3, that schools in England are being urged to ban packed lunches and ensure every child has a school meal instead – which is supposedly healthier.

The school the children attend is classed as a “healthy” school. Sweets, Chocolate and fizzy drinks are banned from packed lunches and children are encouraged to drink water rather than squash (although a carton/bottle of juice is acceptable in a packed lunch box). However, it is acceptable for them to hold Cake Sales and “Chocolate Tombola’s” where every child is asked to bring in some chocolate, so they can then purchase raffle tickets in order to win the chocolate donated!

Now, every week I receive the school newsletter. Attached to that newsletter is a copy of the following weeks school meals.

Here is what a typical weeks school meals look like:

School meals

My eldest two aren’t the best eaters, and Jake can be very fussy, sometimes refusing to eat sandwiches and either not wanting them or wanting crackers. He has come home on many occasions with a full lunch box not having eaten anything at all. I admit now that my children do have a packet of crisps in their lunch boxes. They also have fresh fruit and yoghurt, because I know it’s what they like and what they will eat!

I know for a fact, that they would not eat most of that menu. Not only that, but they keep harping on about how school meals are “healthier” and more “nutritious” and whilst I can see that yes, some of the meals probably are, the desserts are not! Why not offer yoghurt and some fresh fruit instead? There is also the argument that a 4-year-old in Reception class is dished up the same size portion as a 10-year-old. They are 2 completely different sizes and can not be expected to eat the same portion size!

We then also have the cost of these meals. Children are in school for 39 weeks of the year. I checked our County Council’s website and School Meals are charged at £2.05 per day, per child. I have 2 children currently in school, that is £20.50 per week or £799.50 per school year! When I have all 4 children at school, that would cost me a whopping £1,599 per year on just school meals alone! That does not include uniform I have to buy, school trips I have to fund, as well as money and donations for everything else that I am asked for! I simply cannot afford that sort of money, when I know I can pack a fairly nutritious, filling lunch of foods that they actually like for similar price!

It is not just as easy as saying ban all packed lunches to stop obesity in children. Banning packed lunches WILL NOT stop obesity in children! You need to teach the parents about nutrition and teach children in class about nutrition and to make healthy choices. Councils need to STOP allowing fast food restaurants pop up near our schools.

Banning packed lunches WILL NOT CURE CHILD OBESITY!

What are your views on the proposed banning of packed lunches in schools?



  1. July 12, 2013 / 5:10 pm

    It is ridiculous for so many reasons! Currently, Harry isn’t a fan of bread or similar (so rolls, wraps, sandwiches are all out) meaning that unless this habit gets cracked it is likely he will have to have school dinners; bread is literally the ONLY thing he doesn’t eat so we are lucky otherwise.

    • Confessions of a SAHM
      July 12, 2013 / 5:42 pm

      We have similar issues with Capt.Chaos in that he goes through phases of not wanting sandwiches at all, and will only eat dry crackers. I admit, I do put a packet of crisps in their lunchboxes, but they also get healthy items such as fruit and yoghurts etc.

  2. Mummy S
    July 12, 2013 / 5:30 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe there are people out there that think stopping pack ups will help. It’s education in healthy eating that will change things. Also surly all this will teach children is to blame others for their own weight problems

    • Confessions of a SAHM
      July 12, 2013 / 5:45 pm

      Yup, the Government come up with some great plans don’t they! I too do not think that this is the right way. We need to teach children to choose that healthy option, and that everything is in moderation. I don’t put chocolate bars in my kids lunches, but they do have a small packet of crisps. They also have fruit and yoghurt, so again, it’s moderation.

  3. July 12, 2013 / 6:00 pm

    An excellent rant indeed, to which I will just add what about the cost? Are the school going to pay for these dinners or am I going to be forced to pay for 6 to eat or leave their supposedly healthy options?!

    • Confessions of a SAHM
      July 12, 2013 / 6:52 pm

      Exactly Fiona! I think it is costly with my 2 at school. When/If my younger 2 join them it will just under £800 a year. What about those that have more than 4 all at school? It’s more cost effective to have packed lunches, and IMO, healthier too!

  4. July 12, 2013 / 8:17 pm

    Pack lunches are cheaper take my school 360 kids and today 240 were having packed lunch