Many of us think of school dinners and shudder, but a lot has changed since our days of cold canteen meals. Thanks to Jamie Oliver and the hard work of the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA), school dinners are popular once more. This week (2nd to 9th of November) is National School Meals Week (NSMW) and it’s time to get together and celebrate everything there is to love about school dinners.
21 years of NSMW
NSMW is in its 21st year, a pretty impressive achievement. Each year, a series of events are hosted all over the UK with some informative and fun activities for both school and communities to take part in. Some of this year’s activities have included a competiton to cook at the House of Commons, whilst the Welsh Assembly Members are also being treated to school meals at the Senedd. Local schools will be hosting theme weeks and providing plenty of information about school meals in a bit to increase take up and promote positive messages.
This Year’s Aims
A lot of work has been done in recent years to change the way our school dinners look and taste. This year, NSMW is hoping to achieve a number of aims, including:
- Providing school caterers with resources to market their services
- Suggest free trials for those currently not using the service
- Encouraging people to sign up as Ambassadors for The Great School Lunch and show their support
- Making appearances at high profile venues to bring positive attention to school lunches
- Chefs are being encouraged to work in high profile venues to showcase their professionalism
There are great ways in which you and your family can get involved in NSMW. For example, switching to school dinners from packed lunches for the week you can see the difference and benefits available, or if you’re already an advocate, why not tweet your support using the hashtag #schoolmealsshoutout? It’s important that awareness is raised about the school meals available to our children so that they may continue.
Healthier eating begins at home
Whilst it is up to the Government and bodies such as LACA to ensure that school dinners offer a healthier choice of meals for our children, education about the right foods to eat begins at home. Teaching our children about the right type of foods to eat is important, and will not only help them make more sensible choices in school, but through their adult lives too. Portion control is certainly something you can teach them by being careful with how much food you serve at home, as well as being careful to limit the amount of salt and sugar in food.
If you want more information about National School Meals Week, there are some great resources available on the LACA website and you can follow their activities throughout the week on their Facebook page.