On Friday a report came out saying that schools should consider banning packed lunches and encourage a higher take up of school dinners to encourage healthy eating.
Now we all know that there are issues with obesity and that some families diets leave alot to be desired but does that really mean that children should no longer be allowed to bring their own lunch to school?
Personally i think no. From a personal point of view i was a child who was a bit weird with food. My poor mum struggled with me, after having had 3 very good eaters. If i didn't like something(and I'll be honest that was most things) then i simply wouldn't eat it,no matter how hungry i was. At primary school i was once so stressed out that a friend tried to get me to eat some baked beans that i threw up everywhere, and i was a nightmare to take out anywhere or on holiday. I'm glad to say i did grow out of being such an awful eater(i still cannot stand beans though!) but we all know children can be fussy, what will happen to these children? Will it be a case of simply eat it or go hungry? Hungry children do not learn properly.
Then there are children who have allergies, intolerance's, are vegetarian or vegan, don't eat certain foods due to their culture or religion or perhaps have other issues which lead them to be particular about food. How will schools manage to cater for all of this each and every day?
Another issue is cost to both parents and schools.
The report encourages schools to lower the cost of their lunches, where will cutbacks be made to ensure children get a healthy, decent sized meal?
Many families get free school meals(fantastic) but what about those who don't, perhaps with multiple children? They will have to pay for school meals taking a big wedge of money out of the family home each week when it is actually pretty cheap to make a healthy packed lunch especially when you are catering for more then one child.
Obesity does not come from packed lunches, in fact many schools already say no to chocolate or crisps in lunchboxes, my own school only allowed milk or water as a drink and that was over 20 years ago!
There will always be people who don't feed their families well, in an age where you can buy a bag of 5 doughnuts for less then a bag of 5 oranges, then it is inevitable and forcing people to have school dinners will not change that. Why don't they leave people with the choice and instead focus on getting some really good education on food and health into schools; show kids how to cook, introduce them to a variety of foods by using them in the classroom when learning about the world, and get parents involved too.
Do you think schools should ban packed lunches?