Information, guidance and resources about food and nutrition in schools.

These resources may help if you're completing our food environment specialistfood environment advanced or other healthy schools awards.

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.

In Bristol approximately 1 in 4 (23.0%) Reception Year children are overweight or obese, and rising to 1 in 3 (33.9%) children in Year 6. 

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
  • community
  • 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: 

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

Governors 

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

Resources

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. 

Resources:

Parents and carers

Resources: