The health of our children is essential for their future success as adults. Without healthy lifestyles, children will not be able to take full advantage of the opportunities that will be presented to them. The pandemic has further highlighted the issue of healthy eating and the need for our bodies to be a strong as possible to fight of disease in many forms.
With this in mind, the Governing Body have agreed a new school Packed Lunch Policy (click here) which will be fully implemented in September 2021. We are providing this policy now so that families can see the changes and potentially amend their packed lunches, where appropriate, over this half term.
What are the issues?
The Gateshead School Meals service provides a menu which meets strict nutritional standards. However, not all children access this.
Although we have a lot of children whose packed lunches provide a healthy balanced meal, we know there are those that do not. There are examples of packed lunches which consist mainly of sugary and salty items which, when eaten often, are dangerous to health in the short and longer term.
What are the changes?
In line with national guidelines, we are providing a policy which outlines good practice for packed lunches. The policy also provides supporting material to help families design a healthy packed lunch for their child.
Ideally, packed lunches should include:
- at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day (preferably two);
- meat, fish or other source of non-dairy protein (e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus and falafel) every day;
- oily fish, such as salmon, at least once every three weeks;
- a starchy food such as any type of bread, pasta, rice, couscous, noodles or potatoes every day;
- dairy food such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais or custard every day;
- water or still juice.
A clear change will be that, from September, children will only be allowed one ‘treat’ item in their packed lunch, per day. This could be a chocolate biscuit or a packet of crisps (not both).
Working with home
We know that children can be picky with their food but this does not change that they have to be provided with meals which support their physical and mental health. We know that parents/carers want the very best for their children and absolutely want their children to live long and healthy lives. Our aim is to work with families to implement this policy successfully, for the needs of all our children,
If there are any issues with packed lunches, please contact school through the main office and we will look to support families so that this works for all.
UNICEF Article 24: Every child has the right to the best possible health