Encourage healthy eating choices in schools in 2022
Why is healthy eating in schools so important?
Children spend between 6-8 hours of their days at school. During this time, they may attend breakfast club, have school meals, and they could eat during wrap-around care in the afternoons and evenings. For those children who are spending this much time at school, their three meals must offer nutritious food that will benefit them mentally and physically. Those children who eat healthy school lunches are much more likely to retain the information given to them in class than those who eat unhealthily (Harris School Solutions).
This month, IMS of Smithfield looks at the importance of eating healthily during the school day and how as a quality meat supplier, we work with schools to provide healthy meat options to caterers who fill those little tummies daily.
Building a balanced diet with healthy eating choices
To look at a balanced and healthy diet positively and straightforwardly, it’s often better to break the information into bite-size chunks (!) and look at it from a mealtime point of view. Below we have taken a look at what constitutes a nutritious diet for a child during each meal time and how this can be achieved in a fun and child-friendly way.
One of the most important meals of the day, having breakfast promotes healthy eating habits and behaviours and can be connected with academic achievement. This meal will set the child up for the rest of the day, so well rounded and balanced meal options should be provided. Cereals with a good amount of fibre, fresh fruit, toast and meats like sausages are great options for a healthy breakfast.
During a child’s school lunch break, they will generally want to eat their food as quickly as possible as the playground and their friends are calling. However, this doesn’t mean that the meals should be processed quickly or with little thought. Lunch is an important meal as it will give our child the fuel to get through the rest of the day without crashing in the afternoon. Battered and fried foods should be avoided and replaced with baked and wholesome goods with various quality meat options and vegetables or salad. It’s important to offer choice so a child doesn’t feel limited on what they can eat.
Whether your child is eating dinner at an afterschool club or coming home to eat, dinner time is often synonymous with family time. Eating a healthy and well-balanced meal around the table will offer children memories and give them a good relationship with food in the future. Pasta dishes or bakes packed with vegetables and meat are trendy choices at school – this is also a great way to boost that vegetable intake!
We all remember being children – often, it seemed we were hungry all the time! Healthy snacks are a great way to combat those cravings and keep your child going for longer during a busy day. Fresh fruit, nuts, vegetable sticks and rice crackers are just a few of many great snack options.
The benefits of promoting healthy eating throughout schools
According to the school healthy eating standards implemented by the UK government, all schools that were founded before 2010 and after June 2014 must abide by the following standards:
- Schools and academies should serve healthy, balanced meals to students
- Meats, poultry and fish, should always be available
- Fruit and vegetables should be provided daily
- Bread, other cereals and potatoes should also be offered
- No foods containing sugar, crisps, chocolates or sweets should be provided
- Students shouldn’t eat more than two portions of fried, battered or breaded foods per week
Those who have adopted healthy meals in primary and secondary schools have noticed that a balanced diet has made for calmer school children who can participate and retain information that is being passed on during lessons. Attention to detail and concentration levels increase, and children are generally healthier.
Education on nutrition in schools has also increased. Many children have benefitted from learning about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet which makes them much more likely to want to eat healthily when offered a variety of food choices. Learning about where food has come from, the processes it goes through and how it supports our bodies is fascinating and will ultimately offer children the insight they need to understand why they need food to function.
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IMS of Smithfield supplies school caterers with healthy food choices
Many schools in the UK don’t have access to a full working kitchen and often rely on an external catering service that can provide a wide variety of balanced meals that abide by school food standards. IMS of Smithfield work with many of these school caterers and schools directly to deliver high-quality meat options that form part of school lunches and dinners. Having been an experienced butcher and meat supplier for over 50 years, we are experts in sourcing and supplying sustainable and perfect meats for the growing child.
If you are a school looking for a trusted meat supplier or a school caterer needing support with balanced and healthy meal choices, get in contact with IMS of Smithfield today and see how we can help you keep your school children healthy in 2022.