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The Food MagazineHealthy packed lunches

Published in The Food Magazine issue 82
11th August 2008

Fortunately for teachers, there is a way they can respond to education minister Ed Balls' call for schools to advise parents on the contents of their children's packed lunch boxes.

A website offering a programme for schools to follow to improve the nutritional quality of children's packed lunches launched recently. The highlight of the system allows schools to download healthy packed lunch leaflets straight from the web.

Schools make the leaflets their own, with the school's name, logo and pictures. They can also choose options to match their own school food policies, choose food types in keeping with their community, and finally, print the leaflets out in 16 (and soon to be more) different languages.

Healthy packed lunchesOnline healthy packed lunch resource for schools

Check out http://www.healthylunch.org.uk/, a website which offers a programme for schools to improve the nutritional quality of children's packed lunches. The highlight of the system allows schools to download healthy packed lunch leaflets straight from the web.

Schools make the leaflets their own, with their name, logo, pictures and name of their healthy eating staff member. They can also choose options to match their own school food policies and choose food types in keeping with their community. They can then print the leaflets out in 16 (and growing) different languages.

The project began as a partnership between Healthy Buzz and Islington Healthy Schools team. Their specialist dietitian for schools, Marjon Willers says, "it is a fantastic opportunity for schools to get involved, and publish their own leaflets that take into account their individual needs and how far they are along the path to a healthier school; it's very empowering for everyone involved. That's why it really works; and its a very useful tool for healthy schools teams as well."

Boroughs across England are signing up to take advantage of the website and its resources. Pete Edwards, technical director of Healthy Buzz says, "using the interface is a bit like shopping online, but even teachers who have no experience of this find it very easy to use and a very satisfying experience."

Rather than asking schools to hand out a leaflet and leaving it at that, the website takes a longer term view, with schools monitoring improvements and raising standards as time goes on.

Healthy Buzz co-director Peter Moore said that working with Islington Healthy Schools Team provided a great opportunity to develop a resource that embodied the latest thinking and advice on healthy eating for kids - "it also means that the resource is impartial and unbranded. The internet provides the ideal mechanism for schools and professionals at a local level to take control of the process and make sure it's in line with their sometimes very different needs - and means guidance and information can be kept up to date too."

As one teacher said recently: "Brilliant! as a parent, I wanted this advice fourteen years ago - thank you!"

Healthy Buzz are developing similar projects for physical activity and all aspects of children's well-being.

Perhaps the internet, the pied piper of media and scourge of children's bedrooms, is ready to redeem itself and get them buzzing again.

Website: http://www.healthylunch.org.uk/
Email: info@healthylunch.org.uk