With yet more news of the disaster that is the attempt to bring healthy foods to state schools, it's difficult to resist the temptation to link this subject to another ongoing thread in this blog, ie: (as mentioned in the last post,) the problems that stem from the lack of adult input.
The thing is, it takes an awful lot of effort, adaptability, creativity and imagination to provide a healthy diet to kids. Of course Jamie Oliver probably thinks he is very capable in all of these departments, but one thing he perhaps hasn't considered is the hypothesized explanation concerning the increased sensitivity to new food stuffs which children develop as they become more mobile and independent. It is argued that this phenomenon has an evolutionary basis, since all those children who wandered far and wide with indiscriminating taste buds are no longer genetically with us. It sounds like a convincing argument, but it makes for a problem for the take-up of nutritious school meals since it suggests that a continuity of provision of very specific healthy foodstuffs is required - the superfoods with which the child has become familiar before being sent off to school are statistically unlikely to turn up on his plate in a Jamie Oliver-inspired meal.
I find that the healthy foods my children enjoy are highly idiosyncratic and often unpredictable: a high consumption of pomegranates and boiled eggs for example, or ten kiwi fruits in rapid succession, then not much interest for a about six months. Juice containing two carrots, or a juice with 3/4 of a carrot, apparently fiddly, but actually easily managed when only cooking for two children. And we can plan together and shop together, which means we don't waste much - things which again are not easily possible with school meals.
Clearly the solution (yet again) is more adult input the Home Education way, for not only does it solve the problem above, but I also find that it isn't just a question of talking about healthy eating just the once. It is a lesson that occurs and is reiterated daily. Abandoning children to the melee of the canteen will mean that they aren't getting this important information, the incentive or the inspiration to eat healthily.
Personalised learning, personalised eating! We don't expect adults to learn a vast range of subjects that they will never use again in their entire lives and we don't expect them to consume food they can't stand. Yet this is precisely what we ask of our children. Why do we imagine that enforced curricula and enforced consumption of certain foods are a good preparation for adult life? In tailoring to specific needs, we don't abandon children to ignorance or gluttony. It is simply that grown-ups are actually on hand to provide good information and facilitate informed choices according to the specific needs of the individual child.