Suffolk’s healthy lifestyles service has welcomed new government regulations which will make school dinners healthier for pupils.
Live Well Suffolk is pleased that the new guidelines, which will come into force in January 2015, will see schools serve at least one or more portions of vegetables or salad a day and favour wholegrain foods rather than white pasta and rice. They have also reduced the portions of fruit juice to 150ml.
In addition, the regulations have limited the portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded foods to two per week and stated that pastry dishes should not be served more than twice a week.
Schools must also serve a variety of different fruits and vegetables.
Heather Osborn, dietitian at Live Well Suffolk, said: “We are really pleased to see that steps are proactively being taken to make school dinners healthier. Promoting water as the drink of choice, serving wholegrain foods and including at least three different portions of fruit and vegetables every week are very positive steps forward.
“From September, there’s going to be a huge increase in the number of children eating school dinners as all key stage 1 pupils in state-funded schools will be entitled to free school meals. The guidelines have come at a really good time and we know that the nutritional content of school dinners will be better than packed lunches, so it’s a big step in the right direction.”
The Department for Education hopes the new regulations, which will be mandatory for all schools and academies across England, will restrict the amount of high-fat and high-sugar foods being consumed by children and will also enable schools to be more creative with their menus.
Live Well Suffolk is the county’s free healthy lifestyle service, providing practical support and advice on a range of health topics including smoking, healthy eating and physical activity. Their new Lose Weight with Live Well Suffolk service supports both adults and children in adopting healthier lifestyles. For more information, visit www.livewellsuffolk.org.uk or phone 01473 229292.