In a study published in February 2012 by the NHS Information Centre the following facts were revealed for children in England in 2010/11:
1) 17% of boys and 15% of girls (aged 2 to 15) were classed as obese, an increase from 11% and 12% respectively since 1995.
2) In 2010/11, the around one in ten pupils in Reception class (aged 4-5 years) were classified as obese (9.4%) which compares to around a fifth of pupils in Year 6 (aged 10-11 years) (19.0%).
School Food Trust
Established in 2005, the School Food Trust helps schools improve lunchtimes for children ensuring they have the balanced diet, cooking skills and food education that will help them reach their full potential. The standards were developed following research showing that children were not making healthy food choices at lunchtime and that school meals did not meet their nutritional needs.
Why have nutrient-based standards been introduced for lunches?
It is important that school lunches contain sufficient energy and micro-nutrients to promote good nutritional health in all pupils and to protect those who are nutritionally vulnerable. The nutrient-based standards aim to make the food offered healthier by increasing the vitamin and mineral content and decreasing the fat, saturated fat, non-milk extrinsic sugars and sodium (salt) content.
The Solution - Benefits of Nutritional Software
The main aim of an excellent nutritional software package is to provide a measurable balanced diet for your students in a more efficient and cost-effective manner ; giving you the freedom to define your own set of nutritional standards but also store the legal standards i.e. those published by the School Food Trust. Nutritional values should be shown per portion in recipes and a weighted average value is given for each menu day thus giving you proper sales mix values if you use a multiple choice menu. All this information is then shown in an easy to understand way, including colour distinction and bar charts. It is likely that you are already providing a healthy balanced diet for your students but you need to ensure that these stay within your legal requirement. Key features include:
Nutritional Guidelines – Should store and analyse nutritional information from a wide quantity of nutrients on a per ingredient, per recipe or per menu basis, over days, weeks or menu cycle.
Ingredients Database – Should view with ease every item used for recipes and have a easy to search interface and the ability to store information such as cost, waste, supplier codes and nutrient values.
Recipes – Should have ability to browse through all of the ingredients and search by group, type, allergen, nutrient, lifestyle or keyword. Should have cost breakdown that automatically calculates how much of each ingredient you've used and tells you the cost of the recipe broken down into portions.
Menus Preparation – Should have facility to create menus for multiple sites, with multiple meals per day (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner) and for multiple ages, ethnic and allergy sensitive groups. All this while also calculating actual and per portion cost, uptake and total number of meals.
Custom Demographics – Should allow you to account for demographic types; Lifestyle and Allergy. Lifestyles can be religious, e.g. Kosher, Halal, medical, e.g. diabetic, or simply choice based, e.g. vegetarian. Allergy is literally a profile of how many people in your target population are allergic to various products such as nuts, wheat, gluten, etc.
Supplier Information – Should store supplier enabling you to easily find the right person to speak to for your stock ordering requirements.
Analysis – Should have a number of tools to see how effective your catering operation is; ranging from detailed reports covering all items of ingredient listings, stock and inventory, to recipe profiling and menu breakdowns with tools that display and compare nutritional information for ingredients, recipes and menus.
Now that the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games has come and gone, it is important that we raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating amongst our schools. It is our fundamental duty as a society to protect the interest of our future...our children. To find out more please get in touch with our team.