Broader choice on school menus


Exotic dishes such as sweet and sour noodles and Mexican chicken fajitas will be on offer in Glasgow's primary schools alongside traditional favourites such as steak pie, potatoes and cabbage, as the city council serves up new menus to promote healthy eating. The 70-dish Fuel Zone Menu, which was piloted in four Glasgow schools earlier this year, will be rolled out to all 197 primary schools and 17 of the city's 32 special educational needs schools between now and the end of October. The council is distributing a newsletter to parents informing them that more than 40,000 pupils will have a choice between a main meal, a vegetarian main meal, a snack, baked potato, sandwich, roll or salad.

Exotic dishes such as sweet and sour noodles and Mexican chicken fajitas will be on offer in Glasgow's primary schools alongside traditional favourites such as steak pie, potatoes and cabbage, as the city council serves up new menus to promote healthy eating.

The 70-dish Fuel Zone Menu, which was piloted in four Glasgow schools earlier this year, will be rolled out to all 197 primary schools and 17 of the city's 32 special educational needs schools between now and the end of October. The council is distributing a newsletter to parents informing them that more than 40,000 pupils will have a choice between a main meal, a vegetarian main meal, a snack, baked potato, sandwich, roll or salad.

The menus will be in halal and non-halal formats to suit the dietary requirements of children from ethnic minorities. For 1.15 - the same price as before - children can choose a main item, as much as they want from the school's pick and mix bar, and a drink of milk or juice.

Steven Purcell, education services committee convenor and chair of the council's health and diet working group, said that the council had worked closely with NHS Greater Glasgow to ensure the meals on offer were nutritious. He added, 'Revitalising the lunch menu is just the latest step in our efforts to ensure that all pupils have access to healthy food and drink throughout the school day.

'We also place great emphasis on teaching children why it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, and the benefits they will enjoy from doing so.'

A central aim of the Glasgow initiative is to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables. The new menu will also try to reduce the fat and sodium content of the food on offer in the Fuel Zones while increasing their content of calcium, iron and folic acid.

The Glasgow initiative follows the Scottish Executive's Hungry for Success report, which set goals to encourage consistent healthy eating, establish nutritional standards for school meals, improve their presentation and pupil uptake and eliminate any stigma attached to taking free school meals.

Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency in Scotland has launched its own strategy to improve the nation's diet. It has pledged to work with the food manufacturing, processing and retailing industries to particularly help those in low income or rural areas to have access to healthier food choices.

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