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Why new school menu is a class act
WHEN I think of school dinners, alarming memories of soggy rice pudding immediately spring to mind.
But with rumours rife that not only are primary school children in Warrington eating salad and vegetables, but are actually enjoying them, I went for lunch at St Augustine’s RC Primary School in Latchford.
Susan Stephens, a project officer from Warrington Borough Council, is supervising healthy additions to the menu as part of the Change 4 Life campaign, a national initiative that emphasises the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
She cooked me cottage pie for lunch, a new recipe served with vegetables, and fruit juice and it really was good – floury potato without a lump in sight and a filling rich with meat and courgettes.
But are children really happy at swapping chips for carrots? Susan says yes.
“They come to the counter and pick one protein, one carbohydrate and veg option,” she said.
“We encourage them as much as we can to have salad or veg.
It’s about getting them to try it “If parents think they are getting a good meal, they can have a sandwich for tea.”
But what do the children think?
Kabe Courage, aged 11, said: “They are great. They taste really nice and get the taste buds up. They have something different every day that people like.”
Eight-year-old Leon Hayes agreed with the verdict. He said: “You get your main but then you get the two things on the side.
“They give you advice and say things like try this because it’s really nice. You can taste it before you take it.”
But Kevin Lees, aged nine, is not convinced. “I don’t like the veg, so I don’t have that but then I can have salad instead,” he said.
“We get chips once a week but I’d like to have them more.”
The Wolves Charitable Foundation has been heavily involved with pushing the Change 4 Life campaign in primary schools in the town.
James Howes, health officer, said: “It’s about increasing the choice that young people have for healthy eating. The children have been fantastic and are responding to it. Hopefully they will soon be going home to cook these meals.”