Creating a healthy, sustainable lunch menu

Pupils wanted more choice of different types of food from around the world and healthier options. Pupils said that if this was to happen then more pupils would opt for school dinners rather than bringing a packed lunch, which we believed would reduce the amount of waste seen from bringing in packed lunches as well as the waste produced from the dinners that pupils said they didn’t like.

What did you do and how did you involve the whole school?

There were lots of ideas put forward and they discussed the idea of a meat free day, which was one of last year’s Eco’Schools Platinum challenges.

Eco and School Council reps were asked to discuss the issues with their class and feedback during meetings. Pupils who brought packed lunches were offered tasters to try to the new foods on offer.

How and why did you decide on this target?

Originally an issue that came from the school council and was then brought up in an Eco-Committee meeting. Pupils were unhappy about the choices available to them at lunchtime and wanted more variety in their food and also healthier options. They also wanted to decrease the amount of food waste produced.

How has the project impacted on your school and your community?

The biggest impact measured was the increasing number of pupils opting to have lunch in school. The % rose from 54% at the beginning of 2017/2018 to 82% at the end of the school year. The menu is now far more varied from week to week and includes themed days from around the world as the pupils requested! Canteen staff have also dressed up on some of these days! Canteen staff have also commented that they have seen a big reduction in food waste since the introduction of the new menu choices.

How did you celebrate success and what are your next steps?

The feedback from pupils on this change has been extremely positive. Pupils are now talking positively about the food in school and discussing what food is on the menu each week and where it’s from. A favourite has been the paella and this has been requested to appear on the menu more often. The food being served has also been sourced locally where possible .