Jamie’s School Dinners

Published on 2 March 2005 in , ,

Funnily enough, I’ve been watching Jamie’s School Dinners on Channel 4, where the delightful Mr Oliver takes on the kids and tries to get them off junk food.

No bad thing says the responsible twenty-wotsit-thingy I am. Watching it and seeing the processed crap that kids get served at school… well I’m not particularly impressed.

Funnily enough during my school years, I tended to have packed lunches – as I recall I had school dinners for the first term at primary and secondary school but packed lunches it was until about fourth year at West Hill (secondary school) from thereon in, about once a week I went to the nearby bakery, whilst at sixth form college, it was a trip to the chippy. And as I further recall, at West Hill I stopped having school meals cos I didn’t like them.

But what got me watching the show, was just how much junk food school canteens are serving these days. Whether it’s any worse than we had fifteen years ago, I don’t know cos I was on the packed lunches, but I don’t remember that many chips being around. And it’s not the fault of the staff – they end up serving what they’re told too by their employers.

Saying that, even some of the packed lunches the kids got weren’t great – during tonight’s edition there were at least two kids whose packed lunches contained at least three chocolate bars. Three! Anyone who has ever studied the nutritional information of a Mars bar will know that one a day, five days a week, is going to be pretty bad for an adult, but three different chocolate bars a day for a primary school kid – plus a can of pop…. Well it makes you think something is wrong.

Jamie Oliver’s campaign revolves around school meals – and by the sounds of it, he’s winning the battle which is good – but there’s a whole other battle to be won. The battle in our homes.

Now I like a bit of junk food as much as the next person. The odd burger, pizza or whatever – hey, I can’t argue. But it’s got to be part of a balanced diet. If six days a week, I’m eating good food, then I’ll allow myself the odd lapse every now and then. But if you’re eating chips every day? Well that’s not good.

As a kid I was never struck on potato pie on Mondays, or that quiche my mum used to make. But sometimes you have to eat things you don’t like. Else you may end up in a situation where, as we were told on Jamie’s School Dinners tonight, kids are attending constipation clinics because they haven’t had a number two for six weeks. Now that’s not right at all.