Expert recommendations to make school food and drink even healthier are being consulted on by the SNP Government.
Strict rules already apply to the nutritional content of meals, drinks and snacks served in schools; however, following a review by health, nutrition and education experts, views are being sought on proposals to further reduce sugar and other measures to promote healthy choices and help tackle childhood obesity.
The proposals include:
Increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables with a minimum of two portions of veg and a portion of fruit to be offered as part of a school lunch
Introducing lower sugar limits, for example in breakfast cereals and yoghurts
Reducing the availability of sweetened and baked goods in primary schools
No longer permitting fruit juice and smoothies in primary and secondary schools
Introducing a new red meat regulation, specifying how much of a child’s weekly intake should be high-quality produce and limits the amount of processed meat.
Education Secretary John Swinney MSP said:
“More than 360,000 meals are dished up in Scottish schools every day, setting children and young people up for their lessons and, through learning about healthy habits, for life.
“While our internationally acclaimed nutritional standards are already very high, we want to go further to promote healthy, high quality food and drink and tackle childhood obesity.
“Our proposals are based on the latest scientific and expert advice, as well as the views of local authorities, schools and catering staff. I urge everyone with an interest in school food to have their say.”
Kenneth Gibson commented:
“With 65% of adults in Scotland being overweight, obesity rates amongst the highest in the world and related pressures on the NHS estimated at between £350 and £600 million per year, the importance of early intervention and indeed prevention cannot be overstated.
“Apart from preventing of obesity later in life, nutritious meals are proven to have a positive impact on pupil performance, health and wellbeing and their general level of happiness.”
The consultation runs until Wednesday 29 August and can be accessed here.