ALL THINGS NUTRITION
We know that parents/guardians want to know more about nutrition when it comes to school meals. Here’s some commonly asked questions...
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
What exactly is the school food plan?
This plan is about good food and happiness. It is about the pleasures of growing, cooking and eating proper food. It is also about improving the academic performance of our children and the health of our nation. The School Food Plan is built on the premise that children who eat better are able to learn better and are healthier and happier individuals. The plan that was launched back in July 2013 set out 17 actions for the industry ranging from changes to the national curriculum and school food standards, to industry-led task forces targeting catering teams’ skill set. To find out more about these 17 actions please visit www.schoolfoodplan.com
Do you cater for special diets?
Your child’s special diet should not prevent them from enjoying a nutritious and tasty school lunch with their friends.
We cater for a wide range of special dietary needs and offer a vegetarian option on a daily basis. Example special dietary menus include milk-free for lactose intolerance, gluten-free for coeliac disease, halal, vegan and carbohydrate counts for diabetics.
We also provide tailored menus for pupils with allergies and/or intolerances to any of the 14 EU allergens listed below, including combinations of these allergens:
- Sulphur dioxide/sulphites
If your child requires a special dietary menu for either medical or cultural reasons, please complete a special diet request form available from your child’s school office. For medically prescribed diets, this must be supported by a GP/dietitian’s letter confirming the request.
On receipt of this form, our in-house nutritionist will assess the detail of the special dietary request and work with the catering team on site to ensure that an appropriate menu is provided.
For any further questions, please contact us here.
What does nutritionally balanced actually mean?
A nutritionally balanced menu is based on the following food groups:
• Starchy foods
• Fruit and vegetables
• Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
• Milk and dairy
• Limited amounts of foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt
• Plus, healthier drinks
The general principle of a balanced menu emphasises the importance of providing a wide range of foods across the week. Variety is key, including different fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses and types of meat and fish. Offering a wider range of different foods provides a better balance of nutrients. If my child has a hot meal at lunchtime, does that mean they can’t have a family meal in the evening? Absolutely not, a school meal will provide your child on average with a third of their daily nutrient requirements, leaving two thirds to be made up from breakfast and dinner. Therefore it is still important that they are eating a healthy, nutritious breakfast every morning and an evening meal that will contribute to the remainder of their nutrient needs. Many parents/guardians assume if a school meal is eaten at lunchtime that children will not need a large meal later in the day, however this is not the case. Having a main family meal later will ensure that children are eating a larger variety of foods and therefore benefiting from a greater variety of key nutrients.