Healthy Eating week is an extension of Healthy Eaters, the club developed to assist some of our children to lead healthier lifestyles. The suggestion was that we try a healthy eating week for the whole school, including meals, snacks and tuck shop changes, all in an attempt to motivate the pupils to try new things and learn more about eating healthy.
During this week, a health fact and tip was provided each day with related posters to stick up around the school. This was to encourage the pupils not to just eat the healthy food because they had to but to help them understand why these changes were made and what some of the benefits could be.
The week included foods such as delicious homemade granola, banana pancakes and breakfast casserole for breakfast. Wraps, jacket potatoes with toppings, chicken kebabs and pork noodle stir-fry for lunch, and things like apricot chicken, chili con carne and cottage pie for supper. Snacks and dessert options were the biggest change as we wanted to try and eliminate all processed sugar and thus a lot of different ideas were tried. Many of them were a huge success. Some of the snacks included chocolate oats balls, crudités and humus, and banana and zucchini slices, with frozen yoghurt bark, rhubarb crisp, banana ice cream and black bean brownies as new options for dessert. All of them were met with mostly positive feedback.
A general survey of each meal was conducted by every table where they were required to rate the meal from 1 to 10, with 1 being terrible and 10 being delicious. We also asked the pupils to give us any constructive feedback on the food, either if they liked it or reasons why they did not like it. Some of the positive responses included, “Very nice choice of healthy yet delicious food”, “Everything was amazing”, “Fantastic meal!”, “The food was delicious”, “We really enjoyed it! We should get it more often”, “Great. Good healthy eating, keep it up! Another meal like this please”.
In addition, each child was given the opportunity at the end of the week to rate the new foods offered. These were presented in a list with the question “What shall we keep from Healthy Eating Week?”. The responses were tabulated and the percentages were calculated. The results can be seen in the table below.
Although not all meals featured as highly as we had hoped, many pupils really enjoyed several things that they originally said they would not like or did not want to eat. Furthermore, many of the dishes were being made for the first time and thus we feel that with a bit of practice, they could be wonderful and a perfect healthy meals or snacks option.
Going forward the proposal is to start including some of these dishes into the menu. Many of the snacks were thoroughly enjoyed and these could be substituted for less healthy options like donuts or mandazi’s. This would also be very beneficial for those children suffering with certain allergies, as many of the options were gluten free, as well as any diabetics, because the sugar content was relatively low across the board. Changes to the tuck shop have been maintained and although margarine and jam were reintroduced we are hoping to change this to real butter and proper jam in the future. Lastly, if logistics will allow, we will introduce the buffet lunch (most loved by all) into the school routine as a daily occurrence rather than a once off meal. This is an initial proposal for Saturdays. We believe that this will increase the options that the learners have which will reduce wastage and teach the pupils to make healthy choices for themselves.
What does a typical weekly menu look like?
Below are two examples of weekly menus from this term:
Daily Food Diaries
Below are two food diaries outlining what two pupils from different parts of the Prep School had to eat on a random day: