National School Meals Week 2010 will be launched today by shadow minister for education Sharon Hodgson at Hall Mead School, Upminster.
Around 17,000 schools are estimated to be taking part in at least one of the five theme days organised by the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) to promote healthy school meals to parents, teachers and children across England and Wales.
Schools across the country will be serving a healthy lunch to their visitors as part of Britain's Biggest School Lunch. MPs, local celebrities and personalities will be going into schools to spread the vital healthy eating messages that can impact on a child for life.
Sandra Russell, chair of LACA, said that NSMW has been held and organised by LACA since 1993 and is one of the biggest healthy eating promotions in the country. "School meals play a vital part in the whole school day and I must thank all the head teachers that give us such fantastic support. Where school caterers have good engagement with a head teacher there is a thriving service that brings real benefit to everyone in the school," she added.
After the official launch students will take part in a dance masterclass with street dancers Peridot, who featured on ITV's Britain's Got Talent, followed a healthy lunch of pasta bolognese served by Papa Dolmio from Mars Foodservice who is supporting the day.
Hodgson said: "I hope that everyone will get behind this week and enjoy it; it's a great opportunity for all schools to promote healthy eating in a variety of fun and enjoyable ways, and I am delighted to hear that more local authorities, food service contractors and schools are taking part this year than ever before.
"Too many children are not getting hot, healthy meals at school or at home for a variety of reasons, storing up health problems for the future. So I also hope that activities this week can help increase take-up of school meals, particularly where children are entitled to receive them for free."
The five themes this year are:
â- Tuesday: Get Supporting - hotels, restaurants and pubs work with schools to generate an interest in food
â- Wednesday: Get Dancing - pupils can watch youth dance teacher Hannah Bayston create a dance routine that will build up an appetite for a school lunch
â- Thursday: Remembrance Day - pupils can hear memories from people that had a school meal in the 1940s and see recipes from that time
â- Friday: Get Giggling - when pupils can download food masks or make their own and fun is the order of the day
The week will run until Friday 12th November and there is more information at www.iloveschoolmeals.co.uk
By Janie Stamford
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