A poor diet can affect a child’s current behaviour, mood and learning, what's more it is a well known fact that the food eaten as a baby and young child can affect health later on in adulthood (BDA 2013) therefore a healthy, balanced diet is essential from an early age. All children over the age of 5 should be following The Eatwell Plate Model just like the rest of the family.
Lots of children would benefit from eating more fruit and vegetables as many children in the UK are not getting the correct amount of nutrients they need to stay healthy. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey 09/10 states that boys age 11-18 are having an average of 3.1 servings of fruit and vegetables per day and girls are having 2.7 servings per day.
The World Health Organisation recommends that people of all ages should be including at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables into their daily diet. A balanced diet including fruit and vegetables is essential for the prevention of disease. Fruit and vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which play an important role in reducing the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, obesity and some cancers later in life. It’s estimated that poor diet is linked to the development of one third of cancers (BDA 2011)
Giving children a healthy, balanced diet including fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates to give them energy, dairy foods rich in calcium, meat, fish and other sources of protein such as beans and lentils, and a small amount of healthy fats will help their improve their development, mental wellbeing and physical health.
If you would like anymore information on healthy eating, or are worried about your child’s weight please contact Cornwall Healthy Weight on: 01209 310062 or visit our website for more information www.cornwallhealthyweight.org.uk
Ideas and resources for schools
The Food in Schools Toolkit is a superb resource giving information, support and excellent practical tools to help schools with all aspects of food and healthier eating. It can be downloaded from the Food in Schools website.
Download Establishing a whole school food policy, written by the British Nutrition Foundation. This document will enable you to develop a policy that encourages all aspects of food in school to be brought together clearly, coherently and consistently.
The School Food Trust seeks to transform school food and pupils' food skills, promote the education and health of children and young people and improve the quality of food in schools. The website provides many ideas and publications.
School Nutrition Action Group (SNAG)
School Nutrition Action Groups are school-based alliances in which staff, pupils and caterers, supported by health and education professionals, work together to review and expand the range of food and drink in order to increase the uptake of a healthier diet and ensure consistent messages from the curriculum and the food service, read about the work of a School Nutrition Action Group.
A quick guide to reviewing your school catering service
This guide from the School Food Trust is designed to help school business managers understand the different options available to them, the questions they need to ask and how to make the right decision for their schools. Making a change to the school catering service can be a difficult process as each option offers very different advantages and challenges. The guide outlines the benefits of the different options so that schools’ decisions are as informed as possible. Download A quick guide to reviewing your school catering service and read more on the School Food Trust's website.
The tendering process
The School Food Trust has also produced a guide to the tendering process. Download A quick guide to tendering your school catering service. The SFT also has some advice and help with procurement on its website, go to Procurement - where should I start?
Leeds City Council has developed a school meals mini-site outlining what they are doing to tackle all aspects of food in schools. There are some excellent resources there, for example the packed lunch policy toolkit, which contains lots of super ideas including a survey and ideas for collating and using the data gathered.
For recipes and meal plans for healthy school meals, go to the Catering4schools website.
Are you looking for ideas about healthy lunchboxes? Download our leaflet giving ideas for a healthier lunchbox or request multiple copies for your school by telephoning us on 01209 310061.
Active Kids Get Cooking is an annual challenge for schools, run by the Design and Technology Association with the British Nutrition Foundation.
The British Heart Foundation's website gives advice about keeping the heart healthy through a healthy diet and lifestyle.
The British Nutrition Foundation's Food, a fact of life website looks at healthy eating, cooking and food skills, food and farming. It gives lots of ideas for resources and you can subscribe to a newsletter for lots of fresh ideas.
The Grain Chain is an educational website developed by the Home Grown Cereals Authority, the Federation of Bakers and the Flour Advisory Bureau. It shows how grains are grown and harvested, what happens to them before they reach our plates, and why they are good for us. The website also gives teachers' information and recipes.
Grow your own grub is a useful website with information and resources for school gardening clubs.
The Food Standards Agency's website has some useful information for teachers and others, including the Eatwell Plate.
Healthy Boxes is a partnership project that was created to give almost everyone access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Where possible the produce is local and the box contents change each week. In west Cornwall, produce is grown by west Cornwall farmers and is delivered to schools, community groups and workplaces in a refrigerated lorry. Healthy Boxes works closely with the Eatsome Project, which encourages healthy eating and supports groups throughout Cornwall. Each box contains eight items and a card with a straightforward recipe and general tips about fruit and vegetables.
The NHS Change 4 Life programme aims to help families improve their diet, excercise and attitude to good health, see Change4Life. We've developed FIT (Families In It Together) Cornwall around the Change4Life messages.
Planet Cook is an interactive web-based education resource for primary school teachers inspired by the Channel 4 television show and developed by Platinum Films in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency. The resource helps young children learn how to choose healthy food, cook and eat it safely, both at school and at home.
Another fabulous Leeds School Meals resource is the Yes, No, Sometimes healthy eating game - download it from their website here
The National Schools Partnership has created free educational resources to inspire pupils and their parents to try out some delicious, easy recipes themselves.