Over recent years, school meals have attracted a lot of public and media attention. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's interest in the quality of school meals led to significant changes being made to school meal standards.
Government, schools, pupils and parents now recognise the value of healthy school meals, and some improvements have been made. Teachers also try to involve teenagers more in school food through school councils and personal, health and social education lessons.
Why Is This Important?
The mid-day meal, whether a school meal, packed lunch, meal eaten at home or bought on the high street should provide around one third of your nutritional intake of energy, vitamins and minerals.
The mid-day meal is important in refueling and helps you concentrate during the rest of the school day.
Meals eaten at school should reflect the healthy eating messages you get in other lessons such as food technology and PHSE.
Schools meals should provide a range of foods that allow you to balance your overall eating by making healthy choices and introducing you to new foods.
So What Are Secondary Schools Doing About This?
Most schools are re-thinking the food they offer, perhaps under new schemes like the National Healthy Schools programme or ”hungry for success” in Scotland. This means that schools try to make sure that they provide students with opportunities not only to eat healthily but also to be physically active, as well as learn about nutrition and other aspects of health and well being.
What Can I Do?
If you are interested in helping your school to provide healthier food choices why not speak to your form tutor. He or she should be able to tell you more about what’s going on in your school and advise you how you and your friends might be able to help. This might be through a school council or by finding out more about student views.
If you are unhappy with the food that’s on offer now, a short-term solution might be to take a packed lunch or your own snacks to school with you.
What About Vending Machines?
Vending machines can provide a significant amount of income for schools, so it’s unlikely they will go away. Most schools have changed the types of food available in their vending machines, removing foods high in fat, salt and sugar, replacing them with healthier alternatives.
If you want to find out more about what is happening in schools log onto: