School Meals in the UK

In England, food that is served in some education facilities and schools must meet the school food standards so that children have healthy and well balanced diets. The school food standards apply to all maintained schools and academies that were founded before 2010 and after June 2014, they must provide high quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables, bread, other cereals and potatoes. They are not allowed to have drinks with added sugar, crisps, chocolate or sweets in school meals and vending machines, there can not be more than 2 portions of deep fried battered or breaded food a week.

Although public schooling is free you would normally need to contribute a financial cost towards the school meals. However school meals are free for children in reception, year 1 and year 2 schooling.

Alternatively you can decide to provide your child or children with food prepared from home, a ‘packed lunch’ and therefore would not need to pay the additional costs for school meals. These lunches would still need to follow the guidelines above, as health and wellbeing is being monitored in schools continuously. You can find out these guidelines by speaking with the school or going on the UK government website.

Healthier eating for children is a worldwide campaign and there is even an International School Meals day, which aims to raise awareness of good nutrition for all children regardless of their circumstances. It also allows children to think creatively using their culture foods and how to incorporate healthy menus.