Numerous scientific reports have outlined the case for a healthy
diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt, and high in fibre, with
plenty of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables. Many have emphasised
the need for this to begin in childhood.
It is well established that obesity and many illnesses are related
to poor diet or incorrectly prepared food.
- A healthy balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and starchy
foods can help reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease
and some cancers.
- Good food hygiene practices can reduce the risk of food poisoning
illnesses such as those caused by e-coli and salmonella.
Well nourished pupils are likely to be more receptive to teaching
and will learn better.
Food knowledge and skills, including menu planning, cooking and
gardening, have an important role to play in enriching our social
development and in celebrating, nurturing and increasing our appreciation
of cultural diversity.
Given the increasing evidence of the social and environmental damage
caused by some methods of food production, manufacturing and distribution,
there is a growing belief that everyone should learn about and understand:
a) Issues around food production e.g.
- Organic food
- Free range food
- Genetically modified food
- Sustainable food and farming practices
b) Food marketing techniques and labelling information.
The school can make a major contribution to improving both the
environment and the health of pupils, staff and their families by
increasing their knowledge and awareness of food issues and helping
to influence their eating habits. By developing and implementing
a food policy that encompasses all of the above issues, a school
can show its commitment to improving the health of students, staff
and the school community. A food policy sets a framework for all
food related activities in school, ensuring that aims and outcomes
are consistent with and supportive of the overall goal of improving
health and well-being.
A model food policy framework that school governing boards could
consider, adapt and use as appropriate is found on pages 3 and 4
of this booklet.
To develop and support a specific food policy suitable for its
particular circumstances each school is advised to add to this framework.
A range of issues and approaches for consideration are included
in the appendices - pages 5-10.
Materials that may be helpful in developing your school food
1. The Food in Schools Toolkit and website - www.foodinschools.org
includes guidance on a whole school aproach and an interactive
2. Guidance for caterers to school lunch standards - www.dfes.gov.uk/schoollunches
Guidance to compulsory nutritional standards for school lunches
3. The Chips are Down - a guide to food policy in schools.
Available from the Health Education Trust, 18 High Street, Broom,
Alcester, Warwickshire B50 4HJ (tel 01789 773915) price £10.
This booklet provides guidance on promoting a whole school approach
to food education. Visit their website www.healthedtrust.com
for information on how to order a copy.