Former school chef and co-founder of Food for Life, Jeanette Orrey MBE, has teamed up with Kerrymaid to give her top tips for engaging children during National School Meals Week (NSMW).
NSMW, sponsored by Kraft Heinz Foodservice, runs from 13th-17th November and is a great opportunity to show how delicious and nutritious school meals are, to pupils, parents, teachers and the wider community. It is usually expected that uptake will increase during this week by raising awareness of the school meals service and running theme days. But there are other ways to get children through the doors.
For primary school caterers, Jeanette recommends placing healthier options in sight to encourage diners to choose the ‘better for you’ option. She advises promoting a dish of the day and talking about its benefits in a child-centric way to encourage them to eat it. When it comes to desserts, Jeanette recommends cutting a recipe for 16 into 20 or 24 portions to control portion sizes for younger pupils but also help with budgets.
For secondary schools, Jeanette’s three tips are: reflect the high street trend for customisation by allowing pupils to pick their own toppings, sides and fillings for a dish; offer a range of nutritious grab and go options for those who have other lunchtime commitments and can’t dedicate their whole lunch break to eating; and offer healthy food swaps such as courgette fries instead of chips or vegetable crisps instead of potato-based snacks, as more young people are becoming health conscious.
“National School Meals Week is a great initiative, that enables the industry to promote the fantastic work of school caterers in the UK, as well as share best practice and tried and tasted recipes,” said Aine Melichar, senior brand manager at Kerrymaid. “At Kerrymaid we understand how difficult catering for children can be, whether its engaging primary school children at meal times or creating menus that encourage secondary pupils to stay on site. To help we’ve created a bespoke channel guide full of recipes with clearly labelled allergens, nutritionals and cost per portion, to help caterers plan and budget their menus.”
During NSMW, Kerrymaid will be posting daily recipe ideas inspired by brand ambassador Jeanette and a team of school caterers, on Instagram and Twitter.