Are school meals actually good for my children?
The short answer is; yes! All of our school meals are nutritionally-balanced. Below, our nutritionist answers what that actually means along with one other frequently asked nutrition question.
What does ‘nutritionally balanced’ actually mean?
When planning menus for young children, we aim to provide a wide variety of nutrients, in the right amounts. A nutritious diet isn’t just about consuming 5-A-DAY and focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables than anything else, a balanced diet is made up of a wide variety of nutrients including fat, carbohydrate, protein, iron and calcium, to name a few. Our nutrition team assess the nutritional value of the menu across a three week cycle as opposed to daily. This is because children eat with us every day – therefore we must ensure the lunch time meals they are eating contain everything they need to maintain a healthy diet. Children use a lot of energy at school, both physically and mentally, so one of our main priorities is also to ensure the children thoroughly enjoy school meals.
What are the nutritional guarantees associated with school meals?
School meals by law must meet the School Food Standards. These standards ensure that when menus are developed they are considerate of children’s nutritional needs. Implementing these standards ensures that healthier food items, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and oily fish, are promoted and less healthy items, like deep fried foods, manufactured meat products and added sugar drinks are restricted or prohibited on menus. Every day you can be assured that a school meal will offer:
- 2 portions of fruits and vegetables
- A dairy food item rich in calcium for strong bones and teeth
- Starchy carbohydrates to provide energy
- A protein source to support the body’s growth and repair