School Canteens and Nutrition
School canteens can be a minefield. For some kids, it’s an occasional treat and for others it’s where they can have up to ten meals a week.
Many “healthy” canteens feature flavoured milks, fizzy juice drinks, flavoured savoury snacks, crumbed processed chicken, pizza, garlic bread, focaccia, pies, sausage rolls, packaged cookies – the list goes on. Many of these packaged foods claim to be healthy but in reality, one look at the ingredients list tells you they are rubbish.
The odd “treat/junk” meal is fine but I think the quality of food overall can be improved. Why can’t we serve our kids real, whole foods?
Depending on the structure of the canteens, it’s really not that hard to implement alternative healthier foods. Food that doesn’t come from a package, food that is made from real ingredients and made from scratch…with love!
Easy ideas for over the counter foods are dips & veggie sticks, boiled eggs, frozen pieces of fruit, yoghurt & berry cups, chicken wings and homemade 2 minute noodles. Lunch orders can be premade ahead, or frozen, and can include lasagne, homemade hamburger patties, chicken curries with rice and soups. All of these can boost the nutrient quality by having veggies snuck in.
Healthier options give kids a wider exposure to food and other styles of cooking. If they see their friends eating different foods, they may be more willing to try something new. It also gives their little bodies the nutrients they need to concentrate, learn, play and rest, rather than a chemical fuelled injection at lunch time, which does nothing for them at the least and at the worst induce behaviour reactions.
If you believe your school canteen needs an overhaul, or even a few pointers, I would be more than happy to help out. For more information please contact me here.