What are the nutritional standards for UK Schools?
Over the past decade, the quality of food in UK schools has improved dramatically. Where once primary school children feasted on turkey twizzlers and chips, kids are now eating a lot more fruit, veg and freshly cooked meals. Though there may still be a long way to go, the progress made so far has helped to improve the nutrition of the nation’s children. More kids are eating well at school and, in turn, are learning more about nutrition and what constitutes a healthy diet.
Nutritional standards in UK schools
Though guidelines are constantly being updated (the last big overhaul taking place in 2014), general nutritional standards have been roughly the same since new rules were introduced in 2007. These guidelines help schools to plan healthy, balanced meals and help to ensure all of the UK’s children have enough fuel in their bellies to get them through the school day.
Fruit and veg
All schools in the UK are expected to provide pupils with one or more portions of vegetables every day. Alternatively, children can swap their portion of veg for a fresh salad if they prefer.
Every week, kids should be offered at least three different fruits and three different vegetables to try. This should help to introduce variety to their diet and ensure they’re happy to eat a range of different healthy foods.
If there’s one thing all kids love, it’s carbs. Chips, pasta, bread and pizza always go down well, so it’s no surprise these items are always popular when they’re on the school lunch menu. To try and improve the nutritional value of these carbs, schools are now encouraged to replace refined carbohydrates with whole grain alternatives, making every meal a little healthier.
The new nutritional guidelines also included information on hydration. Schools are now encouraged to place an emphasis on making water the drink of choice. Portions of fruit juice are limited to 150mls, something that should make more and more kids switch to water instead. The volume of added sugars or honey in drinks other than water is also now limited to 5%, helping to reduce the amount of sugar school kids ingest.
Though everyone loves deep fried food, we all know it’s not good for us. To help combat obesity and teach kids that deep fried food is a treat, portions of battered and bread crumbed foods are now limited to two portions a week.
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