ARE SCHOOL MEALS RIGHT FOR MY CHILD?
Are you concerned that all school dinners are just turkey twizzlers and chips? Perhaps you have a bit of a fussy eater. Or maybe you’re just a bit unsure about where and how the food is prepared and cooked. We understand that for some parents it can just feel easier to make a packed lunch. But let’s take a look at why, despite these concerns, a hot school meal is nearly always the best choice for your child and you.
We are so fortunate in this country that hot lunches are served in nearly every school. These lunches are produced to strict safety and nutrition standards, with many children eligible to receive these for free including every child up to the end of Year 2 – saving you as much as £450 a year. (Here’s where to apply for free school meals – Lincolnshire County Council).
Spoiled for choice
Here at The Farm Kitchen, we always ensure that there is plenty of choice on our menus and most of our schools now offer our three or four option menus. This means there are always lots of healthy, yummy dishes to choose from, so that even the fussiest of eaters will find something they enjoy. We also find that when they eat with their friends at school, children are a lot more adventurous – it is amazing how often we hear the comment ‘My friends eat it, so I tried it too and I now eat this at home’.
Never any processed food
As a parent myself, I know that all we really want is for our children to eat the best food we can encourage them to eat! I constantly research and study the latest childhood nutrition information and ensure we offer the healthiest, most nutritious meals possible and I personally devise all our recipes and menus. We pack our food with plenty of locally grown vegetables, only ever buy fresh British meat that is farm assured and our bakery is just down the road too.
What’s more, if lunch can be ticked off as a healthy meal, it takes a bit of pressure off the rest of the day, and hopefully makes the evening meal a little easier for you. And then there’s the joy of sending your child off to school and not having to think about buying and making a packed lunch…saving you time and money too!
There is also a strong argument for the mental health benefits of eating a good lunch – “From a young age, good nutritional intake has been linked to academic success, with several studies reporting that providing children with breakfast improves their academic performance. A number of published studies have shown that hungry children behave worse in school, with reports that fighting, and absence are lower, and attention increases when nutritious meals are provided.” (Mental Health Foundation)
Because we care
One of the most important things is that our hot lunches are made with the utmost care. From designing a healthy balanced menu to carefully preparing and cooking the meals, every single person on our team is dedicated to making sure our food is prepared with care and tastes amazing. We are tightly regulated and work closely with Environmental Health and Lincolnshire County Council to ensure we are always following the latest and most up-to-date guidance. But at The Farm Kitchen, we like to go beyond this. We don’t just have the annual Council inspections in our kitchens, we make our own regular inspections to make sure that all of our kitchens are following our exacting standards.
Now, of course we understand that a hot lunch is not necessarily suitable for every child – there may be allergies for example or you may just want to fully manage your child’s diet and that’s absolutely fine. But hopefully this may have encouraged those of you whose children could have a school lunch to give it a go.