Child takes Smarties sandwich for school lunch

One school in Lincolnshire discovered that a pupil had brought in a sandwich for lunch that was just Smarties between two slices of bread. This was the final straw and is leading to a major overhaul in an effort to change pupils’ diets. Included in this overhaul is a trial of free school meals.

NHS Lincolnshire sent in health workers to find out what pupils were eating for lunches, and they found that a large number of young people were feasting on sweets, chocolates and crisps. It seems unlikely that it is a coincidence that Lincolnshire can boast one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country; 1 in 3 children are obese.

The changes involve free school meals which will provide healthier options at lunchtime, such as lean meats, pasta and baked potatoes. In addition to the obvious benefits to their diets, the school is noting an improvement in behaviour. By switching to a dining experience involving cutlery and plates, it means children must sit still to eat.

Schools face competition from local takeaways, where lunchtime meal deals means that children are able to get large quantities of less than healthy foods for the same price or cheaper than the school can offer. In the future however, it has been announced that there will be a change made to the system so schools can offer price promotions in order to compete. As it stands, schools must charge the same price for the same item for all pupils.

The free meals will be provided to any children where the family receives benefits like job seekers allowance or income support. Perhaps this can reduce the number of children between 3 and 19 years old that are classified as obese nationwide, currently standing at 1 in 4 boys, and 1 in 3 girls.

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