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Who is really behind school nutrition advice?

We had dinner with friends recently – the proud parents of 11 and 13 year old boys. Mum could not wait to share her outrage that she was being ‘told off’ by school staff for not putting bread or snacks in the boys’ lunch boxes.

Both boys are the picture of health. They have grown up eating real food. They don’t want bread or sugary cereal bars. They want Parma ham, goat’s cheese and olives. They’re OK with berries and cream, but would choose meat over fruit any day. The only issue I see with this diet is expense and expectations. Developing a penchant for fillet steak and scallops, before reaching teenage, comes at a purse cost and sets the boys up for a shock when they leave home and pay their own bills.

We also have two boys – now 19 and 21 – who don’t eat bread, pasta, potatoes or rice unless there is no meat, fish, eggs, cheese alternative. They’re equally unimpressed by fruit when meat and cheese can be eaten instead. They’re more used to sardines than scallops and spare rib of pork (£4.99 a kilo) than steak, but they share the same passion for real food and they know that starch is massively over-rated (for taste, nutrients and six-pack purposes).

Our mum friend also shared that her 11 year old had just done ‘cooking’ at school. He was asked to take in a pre-made flan base, a tin of custard and a tin of pineapple rings – they were going to ‘make’ a flan. I tweeted this and Twitter came back full of similar stories – bring in a jar of pasta sauce as we’re ‘making’ pasta tomorrow. Bring in some chopped chicken pieces and a jar of curry sauce, as we’re ‘making’ curry. One mum said on twitter that they should be called “stirring” lessons, not cooking lessons!

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