Hot lunch? Do you let your PA child have it?

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 12:53am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

My son is in the first grade at a private school (aka no 504 program). It has been a battle this entire year to get him to eat his lunch, which I pack for him every day. I mix it up...different lunchmeats, different cheeses, snacks etc. He is not a big sandwich guy and even cold pizza or leftovers packed don't get eaten. He keeps telling me that he wants hot lunch.

I put a call into the hot lunch coordinator today to talk more about how it is prepared, or if it is catered in and delivered etc. I know that the desserts are not safe since I have seen on the past menus M&M cookies etc--which is the reason that I didn't wany my son to get hot lunch when he was younger as I was not comfortable that he could understand that he could not eat the dessert.

Do any of you allow your child to get hot lunch at school? If so, how are the lunches prepared? What precautions did you take? What questions did you ask?

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 2:01am
joyojoy's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007 - 08:00

My daughter is only able (and willing) to eat about three of the school lunches a month (stuff like hot dogs and chicken fingers, but she'd still bring her own dessert), and we never had any problems. The majority of the time though, she takes her lunch.
I bought a really good hot food thermos (it holds 10 oz, and still fits nicely into a lunch box), and until we started going to a private school with microwaves available to the students, most days she took hot food in that. Chef Boyardee's Beef Ravioli and Hormel's Beefy Mac are her favorites. You can find the shorter, 10 oz. thermoses at Target, WalMart, or just about any other such stores. The trick to using them is to pre-heat them with hot water before putting the food in. They'll stay plenty warm until lunch time.

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 4:27am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Thanks for the idea. I will look into getting this and heating the thermos/food in advance. They don't have a microwave for student use.

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 4:57am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

My son is in a private kindergarden and I let him get the hot lunch once a week. I called the vendor personally and talked to the manager. My kid doesn't like sandwiches and does marginally better with leftovers / pizza. I bought a bowl that can be microwaved at home before they leave that is supposed to keep the food warm for 4 hours - it is warm enough for my niece but my son says the food isn't warm enough and reheats his at school they do have a microwave.

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2008 - 12:55am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Interesting. They use FSP, which claims to be a division of the archdiocese of Chicago, so I am guessing that they are not a national program. But you have me interested, so I will have to find out.
What they did provide is a website( [url=""][/url] with a nutrional guide/allergen guide. They state whether an item has peanuts or is made in a facility with. Now, I just have to determine whether or not I feel that my son is old enough to understand that he can't have certain items on certain days.

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2008 - 11:38pm
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

Hi There
My son is in a peanut free school. I do allow him to buy his lunch. he usually does on pizza day and hot dog days. sometimes whent he have chicken nuggets.
There deserts are usually fruit so I am ok with that. When I checked at the beginning of last year the luch people siad they do not use any foods that" may contain" So I am comfortable with him eating at school. The kids in class may have things that " may contain" but he knows not eat anything from someone else.

Posted on: Sun, 01/13/2008 - 1:22am
lakeswimr's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

I would not let my DS get hot lunch. He is allergic to a lot more than just peanut but even with just peanut I would caution you to check things out in the kitchen, not just with the food vendors. My son's school's kitchen is clean and the staff works hard. However, I found during one class baking activity that the large trays the use to bake everything from pizza to cake, etc had very tiny amounts of food residue in their corners. I'm sure many of us here also have baking dishes that have small amounts of hardened food residue in the corners that won't come off. Before I checked this I was assured by the head of the kitchen that all the stuff they bake with is 'sterile' because it is soaked in super hot bleach water and run through the dishwasher. But even so I could still *feel* the food residue in the corners of the baking pans! I would think this is pretty much the case everywhere.
So, if your school cooks or bakes anything with your child's allergens, even if they are serving something that is free of your child's allergens and are careful about x-contam, if the food is baked in a pan that has food residue in it it might not be safe.

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2008 - 1:07am
Spoedig's picture
Joined: 09/17/2004 - 09:00

My PA/TN son is in 5th grade and has never had a hot lunch at school. I do not think the risk is worth it. In 1st and 2nd he basically did not eat at school. He would eat a large meat and potatoes type meal for breakfast and ate dinner immediately off the bus. In 3rd-4th he ate a small yogurt and goldfish daily. In 5th he is just eating a small yogurt.
My younger son, in 1st grade, has Sensory Processing Disorder and eats unusually/very little. Many days he survives school (with lots of energy) with one bite of a piece of bread. At the most he has eaten 1 small bagel completely.
While I don't advocate for not eating at school, both my sons are healthy, rarely ill, and my youngest has never needed an antibiotic.
As to your son wanting hot lunch, my guess is the rest of the class is doing this. If you want to try this, please go to the school during a lunch hour to see what occurs, and then speak with the kitchen staff.

Posted on: Sun, 01/20/2008 - 9:39pm
Happymommy's picture
Joined: 12/18/2006 - 09:00

My son (first grader) buys his lunch every day. He doesn't eat any sandwhiches-- he's very very picky. Fave foods are grilled cheese and pizza. Our school has a lunch account the kids get a card that is swiped to pay for their lunch (parents send money into the account)--- if your child has allergies (or if there is anything you don't want them to buy) it pops up on the screen to the cashier, and she checks everything on their tray. I called the head of food services over the summer, and he had a very long conversation with me. He was extremely allergy aware, guaranteed that there was no cross contamination. He discussed the woman who works as the cashier, and explained that she was also very allergy aware. He told me the only thing that my son couldn't eat was Jack and Jill ice cream. He also said we should avoid the bakery products. I felt very comfortable after speaking to him and I really like the card swipe. My son also sits at a peanut free table, and most of the children buy their lunch.

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 11:53am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I would not let my child have the hot lunch from school. He is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. His school is not peanut free. I send him with his lunch and all of his snacks. I just do not think people who do not have children with LTFA's understand the severity of the problem. We avoid everything that evens states "may contain or processed on the same machinery." Just my feeling, but every persons comfort level is different.

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 2:58pm
HLB's picture
Joined: 01/24/2008 - 21:49

I agree with you. My daughter attends a private school and although they keep her classroom peanut free, and do not serve anything with nuts as an ingredient in the cafeteria, they do allow children to pack peanut butter sandwiches. Maybe someday this allergy will be taken more seriously and peanut and nut products will be restricted, but I haven't had much luck with public schools in our area. I worry everyday for her safety. I do not allow my daughter to eat the lunch room meals because I don't feel comfortable trusting someone else's judgment, and unless you read labels everyday like we all do, even a well meaning person can make a mistake.


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