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Old 04-18-2008, 01:59 PM   #1
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School dinners

How do school dinners work in North America? I love in London and, as a mother of a primary school aged child, I can tell you they are not too popular. My son's verdict is: "Yuk". For lunch, my 10 year old might expect pasta, two vegetables, and for dessert maybe what he describes as a “biscuit”. This costs around £1.50 per day. He is usually ready to be fed when he arrives home from school. What happens in your part of the world? I, personally, think school meals are a fantastic idea. What do you think?

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Old 04-18-2008, 02:18 PM   #2
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From the time he was 3 years old, my son had an appetite that could never be satisified by a school lunch, and those Lunchables that Oscar Meyer came out with wouldn't even be enough to serve as his mid morning snack.

The first day care center he attended served a hot lunch every day, and he would eat his, then go around and scarf up everyone else's leftovers! After that, he carried a lunch to preschool and school every day, and it was so big I had to buy special bags because normal lunch bags wouldn't hold it. I don't call him "Plague of Locusts" for nothing.

Oh, and he's now 26, 5'11", and weighs around 165 pounds, without even one ounce of body fat!
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:27 PM   #3
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Hello, Caine:

The problem - if it is indeed a problem - with my son is that he doesn't eat a great deal. There are enormous restrictions upon the staff who prepare food for our school children: they have to watch salt, sugar and fat intakes. All music to a mother's ears except the children are not too keen. When I was at school (don't ask when!) no consideration was given go calories, fat or sugar. But, then again, we did more - a lot more - exercise.
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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In the Annapolis Maryland area the lunch's are I think $1.75: they are generally over cooked, greasy, and flavorless. You either love them or hate them. My daughter teaches at an elementary school and will not go near the cafeteria because of the smell. She grew up going to the schools in the area and has many tales of the food served in the school system, nothing really good.
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:05 PM   #5
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At our schools here, they are now serving things like pizza, burgers and that sort of thing. There was a protest when that first started but the school officials said the kids just didn't eat the healthier foods. I think the high schools also have salad bars now, too and it's kind of like a McDonald's where they can order ala carte. But.....San Antonio is one of the "fattest" cities in the country so we definitely have issues. My kids are home schooled so I don't really deal with this.

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Old 04-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #6
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It varies by school board, because they each hire different contracted companies to work in their cafeterias. The most common things offered are fries, pizzas, pastas, salads, fruit, chicken wraps, chicken strips. Depending on what day it is - there are different menus each day of course. This is a high school cafeteria btw. In elementary, they usually bring their lunch. Also it depends on the school board, and how many kids go to that school.

Keep in mind that small business owners see alot of business from high schools if they have a small shop - such as a sub place, pizza, etc.
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Old 04-18-2008, 06:41 PM   #7
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Our kids have both school lunches and school breakfasts (they are both in elementary school). The cost is $1.50 a day per child and in my opinion worth it. Our school takes great pains to make sure the meals presented are healthy and balanced. No, the kids don't get huge portions but then again with so many overweight kids I can't see that as a bad thing, and you can't beat the price in my opinion.
Both kids seem to like what is being served them and have no complaints (except to say they want more, LOL!). I just make sure there are healthy snacks waiting for them when they get home.
Our neighbor worked for the school cafeteria, which is not contracted out but run by the school district in this case, and she said they keep a clean kitchen and care about what they serve, I think it shows.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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I'm amazed at how reasonable the cost of your school meals are. They must be fairly heavily subsidised.

Thank you Fisher's Mom for the welcome!
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #9
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Most is paid by the Federal Government, the second largest portion is paid by the State Government, and the left over is paid by us (the $1.50 part). So yes, pretty heavily subsidized here.
Now if we can just get them to back music and art again...
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:08 PM   #10
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i attended high school in a small town in tennessee. the lunch ladies served robust food. big meals that seemed to be more like an evening meal to me.

they made a killer piemento cheese from scratch served really piled on a wheat bread. i ate one everyday for two years. with chips and a coke. haven't had one as good since.

i transfered to a large school in florida. don't know what they had. only twenty min. for lunch, ate from the vending machines when i didn't carry a lunch.

aw the good old days, old being the key word here.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by babetoo View Post
i attended high school in a small town in tennessee. the lunch ladies served robust food. big meals that seemed to be more like an evening meal to me.

they made a killer piemento cheese from scratch served really piled on a wheat bread. i ate one everyday for two years. with chips and a coke. haven't had one as good since.

i transfered to a large school in florida. don't know what they had. only twenty min. for lunch, ate from the vending machines when i didn't carry a lunch.

aw the good old days, old being the key word here.
That reminded me of my kids biggest complaint, not enough time for lunch!
I told them, eat faster!

What is pimento cheese on wheat bread?
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:37 PM   #12
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That reminded me of my kids biggest complaint, not enough time for lunch!
I told them, eat faster!

What is pimento cheese on wheat bread?
you mean how is it made? they grated good cheddar added mayo and pimentos. put it on slices of wheat bread. does that make sense?"
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:42 PM   #13
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you mean how is it made? they grated good cheddar added mayo and pimentos. put it on slices of wheat bread. does that make sense?"
I can honestly say I have never heard of that! I like pimentos, so I might give this a try!
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:34 AM   #14
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Danger - Will Robinson - DANGER! Maverick is either an alien life-form or a Yankee!

I grew up with it so I never realized that pimento cheese was a Southern delicacy ...

In it's most basic form ... pimento cheese is grated mild cheddar, a little chopped pimentos, and enough mayo (NOT Miracle Whip - Helman's MAYONNAISE) to make it a creamy spread - with a dash of salt and pepper and some paprika.

Of course - there are variations (Google on pimento cheese recipes) some add some cream cheese, some add grated onion, etc. some even use grated Velveta and Miracle Whip!

Actually - in it's worst incarnation ... it's good!
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Old 04-20-2008, 02:01 AM   #15
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Yup, I am a Yankee!!

Or maybe an alien life-form.. might be debatable there... But an alien with a taste for southern cooking so I am just gonna have to put it on my list to try it out!
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:04 PM   #16
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i would likely send my kiddo to school with lunch. my school gave us salty, greasy, ketchupy meals like chix nuggets, cheeses sammiches, canned soups & canned fruit, pizza, soggy spaghetti...
when i went to Catholic school, wwe were given different meals, 'cept our cencus differed from public school & they could give us different meals. at least they offer milk & stuff, & salads.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:54 AM   #17
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My dd attends a private school. Part of tuition is a mandatory lunch (the make it mandatory because without 100% participation, they can't get the deal that they get on the lunches.) It averages out to about $4/day for lunch. So that kind of gives you an idea of what subsidies the government are providing for public schools.

In our case, dd has food intolerances... artificial coloring, flavoring, additives and preservatives cause her to break out in agonizing eczema... so we get to "opt out" for medical reasons (and get our money back on tuition).

I have to admit that they have some pretty good menus for a school system (but they are not all-natural). Some of the nicer foods being served in May: Beef and Bean Burritos, Rotini pasta with maranara, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Roasted Turkey Breast, Croque Monsieur. Then they have the truly nasty stuff, too: Nachos Supreme, Cheese Pizza, Chicken "Fryz".

I feel much better about sending an all-natural, homecooked meal with dd to school.

Also, I think it's important to note that much of what is taken in the lunch line (at least at the elementary level) is thrown in the trash. I see it when I monitor the lunch room and I hate to see such waste. I wish there was a way to manage this waste.
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:39 AM   #18
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We have canteens at our schools but they aren't subsidised in any way, they aren't expensive but are just like the usual cafe/takeaway shop I guess. They do pies and salad sandwiches and little prepacked lasagne's and that sort of thing.
It's more normal in the Australian system for children to bring a packed lunch, canteen is for special treats or days when you run out of bread or can't be bothered. Personally I'd much rather make lunches for my kids, they get a decent hot meal at night so they don't need it during the day too.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
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We have canteens at our schools but they aren't subsidised in any way, they aren't expensive but are just like the usual cafe/takeaway shop I guess. They do pies and salad sandwiches and little prepacked lasagne's and that sort of thing.
It's more normal in the Australian system for children to bring a packed lunch, canteen is for special treats or days when you run out of bread or can't be bothered. Personally I'd much rather make lunches for my kids, they get a decent hot meal at night so they don't need it during the day too.
Here,Here!! thats what I was going to say, I think the Aussie way is best suited to me and my kids as you know what they are eating as we make it and pack it ourselves. The kids do only get "Tuckshop", thats what we call it here on Special occassions, I normally do once a week, normally on a Friday, to give me a break and the kids a treat. But our Tuckshops are becoming more Healthy now as kids can only buy certain things, not a lot of junk food here, they dont even allow softdrinks(sodas) only juices,water or flavoured water, and the occassional flavoured mineral water, the kids have to learn to like it or go without. I have always wondered about the school canteen/cafertieria, I like the idea, but would only allow my child to eat in one if "Jamie Oliver" was in charge, he is terrific in these sorts of quests, give us JAMIE anyday, or we will gladly go without. At least I know that he tries to cook Healthy food, whether the kids like it or not. I would just pack my own kids lunch if they didnt like his food. I want healthy for my kids, not JUNK, they can have junk at birthday parties and special occassions.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:21 PM   #20
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They don't serve junk food at our school cafeteria. I think you have to wait until high school to get access to vending machines, but even then what is served in the school cafeteria is healthy and balanced.
Might be why so many kids hop in their cars at lunch and hit the local McDonald's. Me I would rather they do away with open campus'.
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