*A post in association with the Food for Life Served Here campaign
When my four year old Olly started Reception class in September, one of the things we were really concerned about was how well he would eat in school. We spent the whole summer worrying about it. Would he eat anything? Would he come home hungry? It turns out we didn’t really need to worry as the food he’s been served at lunchtime in school has been varied and he’s eaten something he likes every single day.
It’s estimated that a third of our daily calories are eaten outside the home so it’s really important to know what our children are eating in school as it has a big impact on their health and learning in school. The Food for Life is a Soil Association programme and it’s independent, Food for Life Served Here award is a great way for parents and carers to check that their children are eating fresh, local and honest food in school. The Food for Life Served Here award guarantees that children are eating great quality food.
Does your child’s school serve Food for Life Served Here standard food?
Back in 2005, TV chef Jamie Oliver exposed just how bad school meals were. Since then, schools have been required by law to provide food for our children that meets School Foods Standards. The Soil Association has been working with school caterers to ensure that these standards are being met. The Food for Life Served Here logo provides independent verification that school meals are indeed meeting these standards.
The Food for Life Served Here award is an award that school caterers can apply for meaning that they can guarantee the food on their menus meets certain standards. There are three levels of award; bronze, silver and gold. If you spot the ‘Food for Life Served Here’ logo in your child’s school, you can rest assured that the majority of food on the menu will be freshly prepared, free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, be cooked by trained chefs and use ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources.
When our children are eating school meals for lunch every day, as parents we want to ensure they are getting the best quality food and it’s so important that their school meals are as fresh as possible. By using fresh ingredients and making meals from scratch, this gives school caterers more control over what actually goes into each meal and avoids using processed food which often contain additives which we want to avoid.
Additionally, Food for Life Served Here meals ensure that UK minimum standards on animal welfare are being met and meat can be traced back to the farm. When food scandals occur (remember the horse meat scandal back in 2013?) the Food for Life Served Here meals can guarantee not to be affected.
Olly has been coming home from school and refuses to tell us straight away what he has eaten for lunch. However, he often lets slip that he’s eaten potatoes, sweetcorn, carrots, peas and cucumber along with bread, sausages and the odd slice of pizza (albeit it, not in one single meal). I’ve checked and unfortunately Olly’s school doesn’t yet have a Food for Life Served Here award but I’m making enquiries to ensure the food he’s served at school is fresh, honest and local.
To check if your children’s school has the award to be sure your children are eating fresh, local and honest food head over to www.foodforlife.org.uk/servedhere. For every search that you make, your child’s school will be given an entry into a prize draw to win weekly cookery prizes.