This week there have been some confusing stories in the news on how well children are eating. Most of the headlines have focused on new figures which show that since the drive to introduce healthier school food began, the number of pupils actually eating school meals has fallen by over 400,000. Yet at the same time, a new report from the Department of Health suggests that over the last two years there has been a 13% increase in children who are getting their "5 a day" portions of fruit & vegetables.
It gets worse... If both reports are true then it might seem reasonable to assume that perhaps these children are getting their vitamins from packed lunches rather than food provided by their schools. But yet another news story from the School Food Trust claims that packed lunches are falling behind school dinners in terms of the nutritional benefits that they offer children. And in a further twist of irony, we are currently in the middle of National Lunchbox Week, which recognises this problem and aims to improve understanding of the issues involved; if you can make sense of it all, please explain it to me!
What is clear is that this year sees the introduction of the government's Revised Guide to Standards for School Lunches. These set out the regulations which all schools and caterers will be expected to follow from this month, and are essential reading for anyone with an interest in this subject.