School Food Alert

BYO dinner at school for a meeting of 12-13 year old intermediate school children and their families. A big group – approximately 100-120 people. Time to be there with contribution to BYO meal was 6pm on Wednesday evening. We had plenty of warning with notice home from school.

Dilemma – both parents working, children busy with after school activities - sport and orchestra practices, family trickling in from 5pm. What food do we take for sharing and be there on time?

What happened? 3 tables were laden with food consisting of takeaway pizzas (about 25 but lost count), Chinese takeaways, cakes, chocolate biscuits, bags of potato chips, pies and savouries (some cold), sweets, sushi, cartons of plain pack soft drink etc etc. Less than 1/3 of one of the tables had homemade pasta dish, french bread with topping and salad, 1 basket of fresh fruit. My daughters eyes just about fell out of her head and then the scramble began for food – you can guess what disappeared first.

To reinforce that this type of BYO food is OK the meeting organiser then began to give out ‘prizes’ for students who ‘volunteered’ to stand up to be shown as an example of what to wear in certain situations (this group is planning a trip to Japan – very exciting). What were the prizes? – King sized block of chocolate.


So what’s the fuss?  No time – therefore pick up pizzas…right? It’s only one night.

No. Planning and actively delivering on healthy family food is part of good parenting and bringing up our children. Setting an example is really important. Setting expectations about what is normal food to provide to share with others as part of social engagement is really important.

BYO meal ideas for families in the same situation as our family on that evening – time poor and sticking to a budget:

·         HOMEMADE pizza – use pita bread or flat breads as base

·         Breadcases – fill with corn & bacon, spaghetti & cheese, fish

·         Filled pita pockets or dinner rolls, triangle sandwiches

·         salmon or asparagus rolls

·         wraps cut into small rings

·         salsa/avocado dip/hummus with crackers or vege sticks

·         mini meal balls, falafel, chicken drumsticks

·         quiche/frittata

·         fruit platter/fruit kebabs

·         HOMEMADE bliss balls, mini muffins

·         Soup made the day before (if you can keep it hot but would be welcome on wet winter evening)

These children are travelling to Japan. On their travels they will experience how a different culture values good food and is not prepared to accept any last minute stop at the takeaway shop as being OK.

See more ideas on this website: