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The Children's Food Trust urges school cooks to increase folate and calcium in school meals

27 December 2012
The Children's Food Trust urges school cooks to increase folate and calcium in school meals

School cooks are being encouraged to do their bit to ensure children have strong bones, teeth and energy levels at school with the help of two new recipe books.

The books, launched this month are focused on getting more folate and calcium into children's meals at school and follow a national dietary survey showing that many 11-18 year olds don't have enough of either nutrient in their diet.

The charity's nutritionist Laura Sharp said: "Cooks have told us that it can be tough to get enough calcium and folate into menus, so these books provide lots of recipes and tips. All of the recipes have been tested in schools so we know they're popular with pupils. And they're a great source of inspiration for parents wanting ideas to use at home."

National dietary surveys have shown that one-eighth of 11 to 18 year olds in the UK have insufficient calcium in their diet. Children who don't have enough calcium are at risk of developing rickets in childhood and osteoporosis or brittle bones in later life. It's also important for muscle and nerve function, for keeping the heart beating, and blood clotting.

Additionally, the most recent national diet and nutrition survey shows that 5% (one in 20) 11 to 18-year-olds in the UK have insufficient folate in their diet. A lack of folate can cause a type of anaemia, leading to tiredness and lack of energy. It can't be stored in the body, so children should eat folate-rich foods regularly.

The latest survey results are online at http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/2012/07/25/ndns-3-years-report/ and the books part of the charity's ‘Recipes for Success' series, a collection of recipe books for school cooks and available to download for free on the Trust's website.

Healthy school meals will benefit NHS, says LACA >>

School meals matter blog >>

By Lisa Jenkins

E-mail your comments to Lisa Jenkins here.

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