February 2010 Archives

Badly-designed canteens inhibit school dinner uptake, finds report

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school canteen.jpgEfforts to improve the quality of school meals could all be in vain if canteens aren't made fit for purpose, according to new research.

An independent study, carried out on behalf of the School Food Trust (SFT) as part of its Canteen Rescue campaign launched today, found that poor quality canteens are the biggest barrier to children's uptake of school food.

The report highlights cramped canteen layouts, poorly-managed queuing systems, inefficient payment methods and high noise levels among several environmental factors that contribute to low school meal uptake.

Ten foods to never, ever let your kids eat

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Liquid-Cereal.jpgHere at SMM we consider the food children eat to be very important.

A balanced and nutritious diet can enhance academic performance for example, behaviour can improve and above all it can keep kids healthy.

So we were pretty horrified to see what constitutes food for some of our American cousins across the pond. Thankfully, so are they!

Momlogic, a US parenting site, lists its top 10 foods to "never, ever let your kids eat", and judging by the names alone it's easy to see why.

The list includes food concepts we never knew existed.

Keep children on-site to encourage healthier eating, says Rob Rees

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Rob-Rees.jpgRob Rees, last week appointed chairman of the School Food Trust, is calling on school headteachers to adopt a lunchtime lock-in policy in a bid to encourage healthy eating habits.

The former chef, who took over the role from television cook Prue Leith, spoke to the Independent: "I would like headteachers to have a policy of no one being offsite during lunchtime. Schools that have done this have found improvements in behaviour in the afternoon."

He added that schools unwilling to detain children at lunchtime should at least demand that local fast-food outlets provide healthier fare.

"If you're going to let them off site, at least negotiate with the local chippie not to put salt cellars out for them," he said. "That tiny thing can make a difference. There's enough salt in the fish and chips anyway."

School Meals Matter - campaign launch

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School-meals-logo-MT.gifThis week Caterer and Hotelkeeper launches a campaign to gain a commitment from the incoming Government to support the school meals service and continue investment in the wellbeing of the nation's children.

The School Meals Matter campaign, in association with the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA), is designed to promote the importance of healthy, nutritious school meals and keep school meals provision at the top of the political agenda.

It is widely recognised that healthy food positively influences concentration and behaviour. Encouraging young children to take an interest in food will help contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits and create a new generation of food-lovers and food service professionals.

In the UK at present, one in four children aged four is obese and this figure rises to one in three in 11-year-olds. As obesity rates have soared, so has the number of cases of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle. Between 1997 and 2003 there was a 74% increase in new cases of diabetes, costing the National Health Service £1m an hour to treat.

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