School meals could be even better

COUNCIL chiefs have welcomed new school meals standards aims at helping cooks be more creative.

Education secretary Michael Gove launched the new set-up to replace previous standards which official said were “complicated and expensive to enforce”.

A government spokesman said: “Previously, cooks had to use a special computer program to analyse the nutritional content of every menu.

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“Often, they ended up following three-week menu plans sent out by centralised catering teams who would do the analysis for them. 

“This meant they couldn’t be as flexible or creative as many would like. 

“The new standards proved extremely popular in trials, with 90 per cent of school cooks, saying they were easier to implement than the old standards.”

Rotherham Borough Council’s director of schools, Dorothy Smith, welcomed the move, saying: “Pupils in Rotherham are already provided with a range of nutritionally-balanced school meals and we see the introduction of these new standards as a positive move which will further benefit local children.  

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“We will adjust the menus in all of our primary schools, including academies, to meet the standards, while continuing to provide our pupils with foods they want to eat.”

The new standards include:

One or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day

At least three different fruits, and three different vegetables each week.

An emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates.

An emphasis on making water the drink of choice.

Limiting fruit juice portions to 150ml.

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Restricting the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks to five per cent.

No more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated, or breadcrumb-coated.

No more than two portions of food which include pastry each week. 

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