The EDUcatering Forum: Nudging children towards healthy choices

The EDUcatering Forum: Nudging children towards healthy choices

The government has published chapter 2 of its childhood obesity action plan. While schools are mentioned in the document, much of Public Health England’s plans revolve around fixing issues on the high street and on TV to dissuade children from being influenced by unhealthy foods, be it through advertising or having access to fast food outlets.

But what about school meals, which provide 190 meals every year to children, including those who are overweight or obese? How can schools play their part in reaching the government’s target to halve childhood obesity by 2030?

There are some great examples of schools and caterers where they are encouraging pupils to make healthy choices. Some examples are covert – hiding veg in dishes, reducing protein and bulking out with healthy veg, or nudge tactics like placing the vegetarian dish first on the servery or changing the language on the menu so the veggie dish is just as attractive an option as the meat-based one.

Then, there is the educational approach: cookery lessons, food growing, farm visits, learning about sustainability, and health and wellbeing.

One day soon, we’ll get there, but there is certainly a huge amount that schools and their caterers can be doing.

The EDUcatering Forum will highlight these examples and inspire delegates to implement changes that encourage healthy choices. Our keynote speaker will be Dr Jeremy Leach, an expert using the behavioural sciences to influence behaviour change. He will set the day up for how we can use new ways of thinking to address the issue of childhood obesity.

Speakers throughout the day will include the Food Foundation on the Veg Power marketing campaign; ProVeg on its School Plates plant-based eating campaign; and catering case studies from two of the biggest school caterers in the country, Chartwells and CH&CO, as well as Michael Hales, chair of LACA and MD of Juniper Ventures.

There will be an exciting cooking demonstration from Park Community School and its in-house chef, and a presentation from Scottish school meals association ASSIST FM on its Inch by Inch for Scotland obesity programme.

We will also welcome Kate Morris and Sally Brown, children’s cookery authors and TV consultants, creators of CBeebies cookery programmes I Can Cook and My World Kitchen. They will discuss how forming good food habits in early years could be the answer we’ve all been looking for and how The Flavour School method could mean children are arriving at primary school with positive attitudes to eating their five-a-day.

Have you booked your place at the EDUcatering Forum yet? Tickets cost just £20 and can be booked online. The one-day conference takes place on 28th November at Haberdashers’ Hall in London.