This week is National School Meals week, a celebration focused on the importance of school meals. Whilst the creators of this event, UK based LACA, are celebrating their 30th year, this is the first time ever that we have been able to join the celebrations in Jersey, making it a special occasion for Caring Cooks. If you have been keeping up to date with the news at Caring Cooks, you will know that the first ever hot school lunches were served in the Island’s state schools this September. We thought that this might be a good time to reflect and remind ourselves of the reasons why school meals are so very important.
- We know that only 1 in 4 children will eat the recommended number of fruits and vegetables each day, despite scientific evidence stating the importance of fresh fruit and veg in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Caring Cooks strive, through our hot school meals programme, to bring a whole range of fruit and vegetables into the diet of Jersey’s schoolchildren. We offer a wide selection of fresh produce in an attempt to get children to try new ingredients and hopefully encourage them to add more variety to their diet; both at school and at home.
- Up to 1000 schoolchildren in Jersey may go without a hot meal each day because parents do not have the time, skills or even equipment with which to cook. The school meals service provided by Caring Cooks gives parents peace of mind that whatever their circumstances, their child has eaten a healthy, warm meal at school.
- Some families are unable to afford fresh food, as it is more expensive than the unhealthier, processed alternative. It is statistically proven that obesity is an illness which impacts most heavily on low income families in deprived areas. Families on income support can access free school meals which means that no matter how much a family is struggling financially, they can feel confident that their child’s hot lunch has contained fresh, healthy ingredients.
- The obesity epidemic is growing. Currently, 1 in 3 children will leave primary school either overweight or with obesity. This is a shocking statistic and a trend which we believe can only be reversed by educating people about food and equipping them with the skills to cook from scratch. We hope that by providing a lunch, cooked from scratch using fresh, local ingredients, and encouraging children to try a variety of new foods, we will go some way to creating healthy habits for the future.
- Prior to the launch of the school meals service, Caring Cooks carried out an audit and discovered that 14,745 items of single use plastic are thrown away daily, in Jersey alone, as a result of packed lunches. This is a horrifying amount of rubbish. However, our goal is to bring our hot school lunches to every school in Jersey, thereby minimising the amount of plastic thrown away each day.
- It is well known that eating a good lunch stabilises our energy levels and enables us to concentrate better during the afternoon. We aim to give every child the ability to perform the best they can academically by fuelling their afternoon’s learning with a good meal in their tummy.
- Above all, we believe that our food is delicious and wholesome and we are grateful for the opportunity to nourish little bodies and minds on their journey to become the happy and healthy generation of tomorrow.