Imagine six classes of thirty children and only a small fraction of them have brought their own lunch. That’s a lot of children to cook for!
When I was at school, there were only three kids in my class who brought in their pack lunches every day and I wasn’t one of them, which is how I know school dinners can be a major operation. We went by class years. Everyone would line up, grab a tray and pick out the most eatable option available. It took ages.
- We didn’t know what was on offer for the day so you were taking a risk having no pack lunch to back you up
- The ones who went in first would take ages to decide what they wanted because there was so much choice
- Those of us who had to wait would listen to hear what was on offer and try to sneak a peek
- Once you got a glimpse of the selection and had your heart set on that slice of pizza, that didn’t mean it was still there by the time you got your plate
- That meant, you were left with options that you either didn’t like or you didn’t want which then increases your wait time by trying to decide which is worse, the gross looking vegetable lasagne or the dry white chicken…
- By the time you actually sit down to eat, you have five minutes lunch time left
Nowadays there are menus printed at the start of the week, but how do you manage every child’s choice? Surely there must be more than one option available? With some children eating red meat, some white and some choosing a vegetarian option, how do you organise all these choices? And what happens when a child can’t remember what they ordered?
To make things easier you could use plain silicone wristbands. Colour coded to match the menu with red bands for red meats, white bands for white meat and green for vegetarian meals, etc. you could have the children request their menu choice first thing in the morning and provide them with a band. Tallying how many bands went out for each colour provides kitchen staff with quantities and children get their first choice.
- Children know what they want and have more chance of getting it
- Meaning there’s less waste because kitchen staff can cater to quantity
- Which means there’s less waiting time as the meals are already prepared and children can enjoy their playtime rather than rushing their meals to get back to the playground
Already I’ve cut my cons of the old system in half and turned the remaining three into pros. Such a simple idea, really. Parents can get involved with helping their children make their lunch choices. Children don’t have to worry they won’t like their lunch or miss their playtime, and putting their wristband on at the start of the day means they don’t have to worry about remembering which queue they’re supposed to be in. Wristbands can be collected at the lunch counter, a wristband for a plate, and are then recycled for the next day.
Quick, easy, waste free and affordable. Everything dinner time should be.