Information, guidance and resources about food and nutrition in schools.
Children in the UK have:
- very low intakes of fruit and vegetables
- high intakes of foods high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar
Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what is recommended, and it's becoming normal.
A healthy diet includes lots of vegetables, fruit and wholemeal starches and pulses. It also includes balanced portions of fish, eggs, dairy and meat.
The Eatwell guide (NHS) Go to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/ (opens new window) explains what's in and what's not in a healthy diet in a simple way.
Why we need to eat well
A healthy diet promotes good physical and cognitive development. It's especially important to promote good dental health and reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Bristol has a higher percentage of children and young people up to 19 years old Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/oral-health (opens new window) admitted to hospital for extraction of one or more decayed milk or adult teeth than the England average.
How your school can help children
Take a whole school based approach
A school-based approach means that children are provided with an equal opportunity to learn about healthy eating. This lets them make informed food choices.
According to Public Health England Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-link-between-pupil-health-and-wellbeing-and-attainment (opens new window), schools that take a ‘whole-school approach', providing healthy school meals to all pupils, show academic improvements at key stages 1 and 2. This is especially the case for pupils with lower previous attainment.
The ‘whole-school approach' involves the:
- whole school environment
- school curriculum
School Governors, teachers and parents/carers all play a role in teaching and promoting healthy eating to children.
What does this look like
A ‘whole school' based approach:
- integrates food and nutrition as part of the curriculum
- brings in a practical element around food education, through cooking or gardening
- provides healthy school food including breakfast, tuck and school lunches following the National School Food Standards Go to http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/actions/school-food-standards/ (opens new window)
- encourages uptake of school lunches Go to http://whatworkswell.schoolfoodplan.com/articles/category/17/encouraging-the-take-up-of-hot-meals (opens new window)
- becomes a Sugar Smart school
- creates a pdf School food policy (867 KB) and ensure that it is reinforced throughout the school year
- ensures that everyone in the school understands their role and has access to resources that help promote healthy eating (further resources can be found at the bottom of this page)
- does not promote unhealthy foods as rewards
Ideas from schools and for schools
Your school can:
- download our pdf Healthy Fundraising Ideas document (419 KB) , written with parents and schools
- have fundraisers and sell non-food items, such as second-hand books or clothes, water bottles or stationery, instead of cakes or sweets
- hold a school cinema night, talent show or quiz night with healthy snacks for sale
- have a 'funky fruit' competition: where children make animals or other designs from fruit
- hold an 'eat the world' night: invite parents or people from the local community to share healthy meals from different countries
- host a farmers' market or fruit stall
Further information and resources
School governors are responsible for:
- ensuring the School Food Standards are being met at all food timepoints, including school- breakfast clubs, lunch, and after school clubs.
- increasing the uptake of school meals and creating a culture and ethos of healthy eating
- The National Governors' Association guide on how to create a healthy school food culture Go to http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/School-Governors_Guidance.pdf (opens new window)
- The School Food Plan Go to http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/ (opens new window)
- pdf School food policy (867 KB)
- National School Food Standards Go to http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/actions/school-food-standards/ (opens new window) and Allergen Guidance Go to https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-institutional-caterers (opens new window)
- Encouraging the uptake of school lunches Go to http://whatworkswell.schoolfoodplan.com/articles/category/17/encouraging-the-take-up-of-hot-meals (opens new window)
- Becoming a Sugar Smart school
- Free RHS School Gardening campaign Go to https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/about-us (opens new window): register and you'll get a welcome pack to get your school started.
Teachers and school staff
Food and nutrition can be covered throughout many topics of the curriculum.
Teachers can also act as positive role models for children.
There are many short online courses and teaching resources available for teachers. They can advance their knowledge and skills on teaching children about food and nutrition.
- Training and lesson plans for healthy eating, from Food a Fact for Life: tailored for year groups (3-16 years) Go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/training/ (opens new window)
- Healthy eating Change 4 life teaching resources Go to https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools/topics/healthy-eating/overview (opens new window)
- Head teacher checklist for the School Food Plan Go to http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/checklist/ (opens new window)
- Teacher training: healthy eating module Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-healthy-eating (opens new window)
- Sign-up to free online training for primary school teachers- to teach food and nutrition Go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/training/ (opens new window)
- Food teaching in primary schools: A framework of knowledge and skills Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/food-teaching-in-primary-schools-knowledge-and-skills-framework (opens new window)
- Teaching food and nutrition education to pupils with additional needs Go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/professional-development/ppd-toolkit/teaching-pupils-with-additional-needs/characteristics-of-good-practice-in-teaching-food-and-nutrition-education-to-pupils-with-additional-needs/ (opens new window)
- Resources to engage with parents when teaching food and nutrition Go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/whole-school/parental-engagement/ (opens new window)
Parents and carers
- The Eatwell Guide Go to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/ (opens new window)
- Healthy packed lunches and eating healthy at home| Change 4 life resources Go to https://www.nhs.uk/change4life (opens new window)
- Healthy recipes | Change 4 life resources Go to https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes (opens new window)
- Cooking skills and recipes for schools and families | British Dietetics Association Go to https://letsgetcooking.org.uk/lets-get-cooking-at-home/hundreds-of-recipes/ (opens new window)
- Advice for parents about very overweight children Go to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/very-overweight-children-advice-for-parents/ (opens new window)
- Lessons for parents and carers to teach children about food and nutrition at home Go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/whole-school/parental-engagement/ (opens new window)