The British government has launched a new school meal plan to tame the burgeoning obesity crisis in the country. According to the new rules, school meals should include at least one portion of vegetables a day and no more than two portions of fried food each week. The new regulations will apply from January 2015.
The regulations promote drinking water and limit fruit juice servings to 150ml (just over a quarter of a pint). Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the rules would “continue to restrict unhealthy foods”. Schools will also have to provide a choice of fruit and vegetables as part of the new rules. The school food plan, designed to promote healthy eating, will be mandatory for local authority schools, new free schools and schools that convert to academy status.
The Department for Education said the previous rules had done “much to improve school food” but “were complicated and expensive to enforce”. The revised regulations are intended to allow school cooks more “flexibility”.
The school meal requirements include:
• one or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day
• at least three different fruits and three different vegetables each week
• an emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates
• an emphasis on making water the drink of choice
• limiting fruit juice portions to quarter pints (150ml)
• restricting the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks to 5%
• no more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated
• no more than two portions of food that include pastry each week
• a portion of milk (lower fat and lactose reduced) to be made available once a day.