School meals, a girl and a camera.

17 Jul

The case, a few weeks ago, of the school girl who was banned from putting photographs of her school lunch up on the web along with a critique of each days offering showed how ridiculous Councils have become. Okay they climbed down following their attempt to “ban” her from doing so, but why and under which regulation would they have enforced the ban? They would have done it to “protect” the staff who prepared and served the food. If that hadn’t worked I’d imagine that they would have used either health and safety or the photography being inappropriate on the basis it MIGHT have shown other pupils etc.

Firstly, the meals are appalling. The portion size is ridiculous, the actual food looks plastic for the most part, there’s the enforced glass of water for rehydration of the brain nonsense and if course it’s all nutritionally balanced, but according to whom? The lack of quality in the food is fairly easy to prove, just take a look at the examples of school dinners kids have sent from around the world to her blog. The food is much more “real”, the portion size is bigger and definitely looks tastier and inviting. The staff preparing the food are not to blame it’s down to the budget they are given.

It’s such a tragedy that Jamie Oliver has become involved in this too. His previous attempts to encourage his views on school food haven’t exactly been a roaring success. Apart from him living in a very elite bubble, having strong feelings about the quality of ingredients and then ranting on about nutrition, he himself cooks food, which is high in sugar and fat content in his restaurants. If he’s serious about improving the quality of food available in schools the solution is extremely simple. Never mind the content as much as making sure that the money used for the ingredients, preparation and cooking is of a high enough level too ensure the resulting meal is good. Just like he does in his restaurant.

The food on display at the school has been prepared to a price which is obviously too low. Nutrition is not the prerogative of a school or a council education department. It’s for the parents to decide. The state has no part to play. The lefties with their over strident shrieking about obesity is, as tediously usual, based in politics rather than reality. They know best. Parents know nothing, unless they are lefties too.

A few years ago food was simple. Breakfast was toast, porridge or cereal, lunch was significant sandwiches and dinner was a cooked meal of two courses. It was like that for a reason. Most people worked physically so they needed a diet, which provided them with the calories they required to sustain them through a working day. Work patterns and content have changed dramatically with work becoming a sitting exercise for most of us.

The salt, various types of fat and sugar scares are just that, scares. Our bodies regulate our salt levels; what isn’t required is got rid of by our bodies. We have to have fat in our diet although not too much and we have a liking of sugar. Bear in mind that fruit has lots of sugar for example so no chocolate but plenty of fruit still gives you lots of sugar.

A balanced diet is the best way forward by far. Balanced as in varied and not dependent on either too much of some things or too little of others. Traditional diets contain a mixture of fruit and veg along with red meat, fish and poultry. Almost all of it cooked from scratch. The traditional cooking of our youth worked pretty well did it not? We managed fine and continue to do so.

There was obesity around in the 60s and 70s it’s not a recent development although, at times in the media, you would think that it is. The amount and variation of sugary foods and sweets seems wider these days but we managed just fine with choice we had. I’ve already owned up to spending my dinner money on pints of milk, mars bars and white chocolate drops during my final years at high school. Mind you when you bought crisps around that time some brands provided wee bags of salt in the bag which you could sprinkle on the crisps or not.

Balanced diet! Just like your granny told you. You can’t go wrong.

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Charities, Education, Health


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