Emmy starts in reception in 2 weeks time, just where that time has gone I’m not sure however no amount of denying it will change the fact that this is about to happen.
I need to embrace the change and accept the fact she has grown up.
One thing I am really looking forward to is her having her free school dinners (all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are all entitled to free meals from September), now this isn’t for the same reason that many of my friends are looking forward to it – they are thinking of the money saved and not having to cook an evening meal – now the money saved will be handy of course but what I am excited about is Emmy trying new foods. She is a fussy eater and I know this WILL be good for her. Looking at the Children’s Food Trust school lunch menu I really like that so many varied foods will be on the menu, foods she would turn her nose up to at home.
I’ve discussed this with many friends recently and my thoughts are that she will most likely eat more at school than she would do at home, the influence from peers is amazing, if she sees friends eating new things she will try them too. So, she will either eat new things, try them or come home hungry and eat her tea – a win win for all.
I have no doubt in my mind that she will actually like school dinners, and she will eat more than at home and I know they will be more nutritious than the marmite sandwiches she always makes me make for her, along with the yogurt and half pack of Wotsits – she is a creature of habits. While I try hard to ensure she has fruit in her packed lunch I can guarantee she wouldn’t eat it. Children’s Food Trust only 1% of packed lunches meet the nutritional standards of school meals, this is another reason I am pleased with my decision to let Emmy have school dinners – she loves vegetables, not something I could add to her lunch as she only like them hot.
When I was in Infants school I used to have a packed lunch – I clearly remember taking in my lunch box and sitting in the school hall with my friends who had packed lunches. We would be at one end of the hall and those having school dinners would be at the other end.
I remember a time when I had forgotten my lunch box and I was allowed to have school dinners for that day only – it was my first experience of school dinners and I think I must have enjoyed it. It’s funny the memories you have, some are so clear, I can’t recall what was on the menu that day – I want to say Bolognese but that’s probably completely made up, what I do recall though is the conversation at the end of the school day between my Mum and my teacher Mrs Moon. Mrs Moon was telling my Mum that I had enjoyed my lunch so much that I had gone up for seconds and they were giggling together about the amount I had eaten.
This was not to be my last experience of school dinners, when we moved house my Mum got a job as a dinner lady so even when I had packed lunches we sometimes had school puddings at home as they were allowed to bring the extras which would be wasted home with them.
My all time favourite was the chocolate cake and chocolate custard, Mum would bring a tray of chocolate cake home along with a jug of chocolate custard – it wouldn’t last long in our house. although just why the custard was always lumpy I will never understand.
I know Emmy would really like this too – she loves chocolate custard and I am on a mission to make this next week for her – although I have never made custard before I am going to try to do it from scratch, letting her help me.
Do you have any #SchoolMealMemories you would like to share?
Do you have a children about to take up the free meals for the first time? I would love to know your thoughts and expectations on these meal.
Posted in collaboration with the Department for Education