Tag Archives: food

School Lunch in England

When we lived in D.C. I packed lunches and snacks for all the kids every day for school.  We do not eat processed food (as much as humanly possible), we only eat organic, and the school lunches that were provided were, frankly, gross re-heated frozen processed garbage.  My kids might have purchased school lunch once in their lives before we moved here.

At the school in England, though, you are not allowed to bring a lunch.  It’s just not even a thing.  The school has a full kitchen and a chef and five other prep staff and the food is made from scratch on the premises every day, and every child eats the lunch provided.  It’s part of the tuition and fees.  And the food is freaking amazing.  The picture above is an actual photo of the salad bar in the Prep school where all three boys eat each day.

Every single day I ask the kids what they had for lunch that day.  I am always jealous.  Here’s a sample menu from this month:

My kids eat this stuff.  Gabe has a salad almost every day.  They are required to take a vegetable AND to eat it.  Every week they have “Roast Day” on Wednesdays, fish on Fridays, and every day there is a soup option, homemade desserts, and bread made from scratch.  The pizza on Friday is made from scratch — even the dough.  Everything is made on site with fresh ingredients.  It is incredible.  My kids have tried and learned they love new foods and have asked me to make them at home, providing me with more ideas and options at dinner time too! (Still working on a good recipe for Yorkshire pudding…or maybe a more skilled baker than I to make them.)

I also then don’t feel guilty if I occasionally have to give them PB&J sandwiches for dinner occasionally since they are eating a full hot meal with veggies and dessert every single day at lunch.

We pay a fee each term to cover the kids’ lunches which comes to a total of approximately $832 per term.  Divided by about 50 school days per term and by four children, that comes out to a cost of about $4.16 per child per day.  I can absolutely guarantee that I spent more per lunch for my kids when I was making them at home and packing them daily.  Do you know how gladly I will pay $4 per day for my children to eat this incredible and healthy food?  Contrast that with the $2.65 it cost to buy school lunch at our school in America and the difference is laughable. 

In addition to obviously being healthier than the lunches provided at the schools in America, the lunch program here makes my life easier because I don’t have to pack lunches every morning.  Instead of scrambling to make sandwiches or fill thermoses, I get to sit and eat breakfast and drink coffee.  It is awesome.

There are a few school districts in the U.S. that I’ve been able to find online that employ an actual chef and provide the students with healthy and high-quality food like this, but they are few and far between.  How much better would it be for all our kids if the food at schools were better? 

Here’s one resource I found for implementing this kind of program in schools: Chef Ann Foundation.

What stops a school from doing this?  I can’t imagine any parent would be against it.  It’s better for the kids, it’s better for the parents (I cannot imagine going back to packing 4 lunches every morning!).  It’s just BETTER.

For now I’m grateful to be sending my kids to a school where this good food is a daily reality.  And when we return to the U.S., I plan to work hard to make this a reality in whatever school district we end up in.  Our kids deserve it.

All photos are from the school dining hall website and used with permission.




Mondays and Coffee

may your coffee be strong

I’ve read about “bulletproof coffee” before but never actually tried it because butter in coffee sounds not that good.  And I need my coffee to be good so I can function.

Then I saw a recipe for coconut oil coffee (and you know what a fan of coconut oil I am) and for some reason coconut oil in coffee sounded less weird.  Matt had actually read something about the health benefits of coconut oil just a few days before, and so he also wanted to try it. 

The verdict: it’s really GOOD!  I don’t think we’d do it every day, but it was definitely tasty. (The Pioneer Woman also agrees!)  I am not sure it gave me more energy than normal coffee, but I’d definitely do another test and pay more attention to that next time. 

Have you ever tried coffee with either butter or coconut oil?  Would you?

Also, my ode to coffee, and a lovely scone recipe to have with your morning coffee.


Eating Machines

apple Quinn

It didn’t take me very long to adjust to having all the kids in full-day school.  We’re six months in, and I really, really like my quiet days.  Which is why school break takes on a whole new meaning.

We’re off from school this week and even though I absolutely knew it was coming, I somehow didn’t really plan my grocery shopping around the fact that I would be providing lunch and snacks to my children all day.  We were out of food — I mean, OUT — on Tuesday afternoon.  They’re like locusts, man.

For a two hour period yesterday, without exaggeration, Owen was either eating, asking me what he could eat, or making something to eat.  I finally sent him outside to play and said he couldn’t have any more food for one hour.  After 57 minutes, he came in, watched the clock for 3 minutes, then asked what he could eat. 

This is why I’m going grey.

The other three children weren’t quite as bad, but they certainly did their part to eviscerate the pantry contents.  We charged through more than one loaf of bread, almost all the fruit, all the yogurt, all the milk, all the leftovers from dinner the night before, and all the chips and salsa before Matt got home from work yesterday. 

Today, we’re going to the grocery store.  (Yay, grocery shopping with four children in tow, my FAVORITE!)

It was a rookie mistake not to have stocked up on lots of food before having the ravaging horde home for a week, but after yesterday’s eating extravaganza, it’s not a mistake I’ll make again. 

Also, here are some ideas for snacks to make on school break!  I definitely should have made these granola bars.




There is a new 4-part documentary called COOKED coming out next week on Netflix created by Michael Pollan, who is pretty much my hero.

Here’s the synopsis:

Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth – Cooked is an enlightening and compelling look at the evolution of what food means to us through the history of food preparation and its universal ability to connect us. Highlighting our primal human need to cook, the series urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.

You guys, I cannot wait to watch this.

Food is so, so important, and the quality of food you put into your body is just as important, if not more important, than the quantity.  Good food nourishes, builds, strengthens.  Crappy food tears you apart from the inside out.  Every bite of food you take matters.

I try, very hard, to prepare most of what my family eats from scratch.  Although it’s not hard to do, It’s not always easy.  It is, however, always worth it. 

I’ve really, really fallen off the cooking wagon in the last few months.  Blame it on moving, busy schedules, my fear of grocery shopping when we first got to England, but whatever the reason, it happened.  I’ve been thinking lately of how much I need to get back into the routine of cooking, because when I’m doing it more often, it seems so much easier and more fun.  I know watching this documentary will be a great reminder of just why it’s so important.

I’m already looking up recipes and getting excited about getting back into the kitchen.

What is your favorite thing to cook?  Everyone has at least one!


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