Initially myself along with many other parents were excited about the prospect of free school dinners. We were fairly confident that these would be healthy and balanced after being tackled by Jamie Oliver and team. However, it seems that a shift in very recent updated dietary guidelines – namely with regard to sugar and calorie requirements are yet to be embedded.
Strategies such as The School Food Plan are great but focus largely on the eating environment rather than the finer details of how much sugar and calories school children are getting in their lunchtime meals. Equally stamps and labels such as the Soil Associations Food for Life are great in ensuring that food is sourced ethically and environmentally but this doesn’t mean that they are fully aligned with very latest nutrition guidelines. For example, within this specified criteria it simply states that: “in baked products the ratio of sugar: flour in sweet recipes should be 1:2 or less for 4 points”. However, the deeper question is should we be giving so many sweet baked products to children in school in the first place?
So the initial vision was a varied, healthy menu with included a dessert – ok with that. This was listed as being yoghurt and/or fruit.