Getting the students involved and interested in what they eat has been vital in the success of the new menus.
“For each new dish we develop, we have pictures of them displayed in each of our canteens along with the recipes so kids know how to make them themselves. And it’s all on our website too, so parents and kids can follow the videos and learn how to make the dishes at home.”
All the recipes can be found in the PiXL Power to Perform recipe booklet. The booklet talks through the benefits of each of the dishes and what time of day is best to eat each one. It discusses the nutrients found in the ingredients and how they help different parts of our bodies.
This way, students and parents can see why certain things are on the menu at the school and that there is clear evidence-based rationale behind the choices.
“We’ve also run competitions for the kids to come up with recipes. Last summer, the winner of our ‘Summer Dish’ competition came up with a recipe for taco cups, with runner up recipes for tomato and feta pasta and strawberry rhubarb crumble bars.”
“We’ve always had a healthy eating ethos” Helen tells us. “We’ve eradicated the sale of chocolate bars, crisps, fizzy pop, and other things that are too high in sugar or saturated fats. We make sure we are fully compliant with government guidance in terms of amounts of sugars in products that we’re allowed to sell.”
The school has also been mindful of its impact on the environment: “We’re trying to reduce plastic in the kitchen as much as possible. For example, we’ve moved most of our drinks to cardboard containers. It’s part of our green pledge.” Helen says.
The feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. One of the post-16 pupils ran a survey of the students who made suggestions of things they’d like to see in the canteens.
“This is when decided to go down the route with PiXL and started rolling out our new options gradually. We got an email from the sixth-former this week to say how happy the students were that we’d listened to them and provided a different selection. They really appreciated it.”
The school has made efforts to investigate the kinds of foods that give kids stamina during exams “So, in partnership with PiXL, we’ve been mindful to include things like fish on our menus more frequently, and also a Florentine pizza which has spinach and egg on it. Both known to be great brain foods.” Helen says.
And sometimes it’s a work-in-progress, as Jaime tells us:
“Our beetroot salad, at first, didn’t look anything like it did on the picture! Sometimes it’s a case of trial and error for our chefs to get the dishes just right. And it turns into a bit of healthy competition in the kitchen. When we get a new dish, we see who can make it look as enticing as possible. It’s important for take-up that the food looks as good as it tastes.”
It seems to us like these catering staff really care about the food they put out there and that the kids are enjoying the healthy options.
Do you know a member of school staff or an entire team going above and beyond to improve things for the children in their school? Why not send them a free thank you message via our website?
And don’t forget, May 26th is National Thank a Teacher Day. We have a writing competition, a baking competition, and a drawing competition for you to enter.
We’ve also got some free lesson resources – linked to PSHE curriculum objectives – for you to download and use.