Why I’m dreading doing the school packed lunch

I'm nervous of the scrutiny from school, the slap on the wrist and the embarrassment if I ever get it wrong...


My daughter currently being in Year 2 brings with it one great blessing: she gets a free school dinner every day.


It’s a serious joy right now, but once Year 3 hits things will change. You have to pay for school dinner for one – and for another, my daughter’s made it quite clear (since Reception) that she really, really REALLY wants packed lunch ?

Working at MFM HQ means you do hear all the lunchbox ‘horror’ stories:

There was the Aussie mum who got a ‘sad face’ note in her child’s lunchbox for her inappropriate cake inclusion, and Jason Manford’s admission that he’s simply not organised enough to be a lunchbox parent (join the club).

And today, a row’s broken out between parents and teachers at a school where ‘lunchbox’ parents feel penalised for what they’re giving their kids when they don’t consider the school meals to be that much (if at all) healthier.

In my day, packed lunch was, in general, a Kit Kat, a packet of crisps, a ham and cheese sandwich (white bread) and a carton of Ribena. I’m not sure any of those things would make the cut today.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to give my daughter unhealthy food, but there is a balance between what’s healthy, what she’ll eat, and what will fill her up.

A recent article I read suggested neither cereal bars nor sultanas were appropriate – when I must admit, I would have thought these were OK.

And what if you have a bit of cake let over from the weekend, as a treat? Is that OK, or not?

There are also things to remember, too. For example, if you’re going to include grapes or tomatoes, you need to slice them in half.

It just feels as though there are quite a lot of ‘don’ts’ on the list, and that people are watching: one slip up and you might get a note from teacher.

So, I’m nervous of the scrutiny from school, the slap on the wrist and the embarrassment if I ever get it wrong…

Anyone else feel the same? ?

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