5 SIMPLE SWAPS TO BETTER SCHOOL LUNCHES
(INCLUDING 4 RECIPES THAT FEED 400-500 PUPILS)
1. REPLACE MEAT WITH VEGETARIAN ONCE A WEEK
Nutritional and environmental experts recommend replacing cheap meat with better quality meat and eating it less often. It’s better for you, better for the environment, better for animal welfare. Vegetarian options needn’t be bland, they can pack flavour and a nutritional punch.
‘When I started cooking in schools, I got told that the tomato sauce had chocolate powder in it to raise the iron levels. I found this tasted odd, so we substituted chocolate for miso. Miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.’
2. ALLOW KIDS TO GET INVOLVED: PUT SALADS ON THE TABLES
School lunch spaces make it difficult for children to have any control over their plate. One way of enabling them to get involved is to place salads and raw veg sticks on the tables for them to look at, explore and share.
3. SHOW WHAT REAL FOOD LOOKS LIKE
Many children don’t know where meat comes from, or that is has bones. Animal flesh is often breaded or disguised: chicken is only familiar as nuggets and fish seemingly comes in orange rectangles. Help children to understand where their food comes from, making a start with something appealing, like chicken drumsticks.
4. MAKE FRESH BREAD
Baking your own bread can help achieve savings for your kitchen, whilst ensuring children are not consuming the added sugar, salt and preservatives hidden in mass-produced loaves.
‘We save money every day by making bread from the following 5 ingredients. It’s an easy habit to get into, and very rewarding.’
5. STAND BY THE BINS
Your food may be good already, or on a journey to improvement. But it’s not just the food you’re offering, but the food the children are actually eating that counts. Make a project of standing by the bins every day for a whole menu cycle to assess what is being thrown away. Small changes, eg to vegetable offerings, or how you present food could make a huge difference to waste – both financially and environmentally.
To stay in touch with us and find out more about helping your school improve its food, please share some details here.