Friday 19 June 2015

Good Old English School Lunch

From primary to secondary school, one of my all-time favourites as a student was lunch time!

Though I am getting older, still the sound of school lunch fascinates me, and the pictures of school lunch around the world excite me more than the pictures of lovely shoes and bags :)

I don't remember what exactly triggered me now to make dinners inspired by school lunch, but here I am trying to recreate some of the school lunch in different countries :)

So, let's start with the school lunch in the UK!

n.b. This is the recreation of the school lunch in the UK (made it gluten-free), based on David's memory and other online sources, and this may vary school to school.

When I asked David about his memory of school lunch, he named: fish fingers and mashed potatoes, which he had for almost every single lunch - this certainly helps me to understand why he loves fish fingers :)haha

Also, as far as I know, baked beans are one of the British staples for breakfast, and seems like British kids often have baked beans for lunch as well.

Believe it or not, I used to eat them almost everyday here in the UK.

The picture below is one of my breakfast, taken more than a year ago when I still had gluten, in my university catered dorm in London.
I remember being super excited for the full English breakfast for the first few days...but after a while, I often skipped breakfast... :P

As much as I loved these baked mushrooms, I can never eat like this anymore in the morning...

Interestingly, when I was living in the dorm - though I had the best time of my life there - I became constantly ill, and had suffered from horrible coughs and fevers for months.

No wonder I became much healthier now that I don't eat these greasy food everyday ><

Anyhow, here is my attempt to make British school lunch!

Overall, it certainly made us feel like eating school lunch in many ways :Dhaha

TESCO Free From Fish Fingers
Heinz Beanz with Pork Sausages

In terms of the nutritional value of gluten-free oven-cooked fish fingers and baked beans with pork sausages,

I believe it's still high in fat (3.1g saturated fat out of 11.9g fat in total). In regards to fat, it is suggested for a 'healthy adult' to take 7g-12g per meal to make up for 20-30g of total fat per day (Source: Schuna, 2015).

But we are talking about school kids, from age around 5 to 16, right?

Also, this number will certainly increase as fish fingers are often deep fried in an oil, and when we add some butter to make creamy mashed potatoes.

Though some say that fish fingers can be a good source for Omega 3, I still believe such meals containing processed and deep fried food would cause young children a various health problems.

Moreover, the sugar and salt in the baked beans with pork sausages are pretty high as well, since it consists of more or less half of the daily recommended intake of salt and sugar for children.

<< Total amount of salt & sugar in these products >>

Salt: 2.4g
Sugar: 9.3

<< Recommended amount of salt & sugar >>

Salt: 4~6 year old- 3g / 7~10year old- 5g / 11year old~- 6g per day (Source: NHS)
Sugar: 4~8 year old- 12g/ pre-teen&teen- 20~32g per day (Source: BJC Health Care)

Apart from weight gain, when a child eats food with too much fat, sugar, or processed food with only few vitamins and minerals, he/she is likely to develop a higher risk for several chronic health problems, such as diabetes, kidney stones, bone loss, cancer and heart disease (Source: Schuna, 2014).

I understand how difficult it is to eat very healthy under certain budget, and provide healthy options for children to choose rather than fish fingers or fries - because I don't remember myself proactively choosing vegetables as well.

After all, well-balanced meal plans, as well as a proper food education for kids to eat healthy seem to be a very important factor for a healthier school lunch :)

So, how was your school lunch like? :)

The next "Good Old School Lunch なつかし給食" will be about Japanese School Lunch! :)



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