Schools going way over calorie counts
Schools should stop serving puddings every day of the week, a health charity has warned.
Obesity Action Scotland says stricter nutritional guidelines for school meals do not go far enough in its response to the Scottish government consultation on the proposed new nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools, which closed last week.
It was revealed earlier this year that schools were still serving calorie-laden meals and desserts despite new guidelines restricting calories.
Daily sugar intake “remains potentially high” even under the new guidelines, and children making the most unhealthy menu choices would have to consume no sugar outside of school to meet dietary recommendations, the charity warned.
It was concerned that the inclusion of “sugar-free drinks” in the list of acceptable beverages could mark the return of fizzy drinks to Scottish schools.
The charity called for puddings, cakes, biscuits and sugary yoghurts to be "minimised on school menus" and for “clear direction” to be given to councils on the number of times per week they could be served.
It said that in early 2017 there were 12 authorities still serving puddings five days per week. Food Standards Scotland has made it clear that as a nation we need to reduce our intake of discretionary foods by 50% and school meals would be the ideal place to demonstrate how to achieve that.
Obesity Action Scotland said: “This means that to adhere to the current dietary recommendation, a primary school child who had chosen the highest options throughout the day could have virtually no sugar in their food or drink outside of school. Whilst we accept this is a worst-case scenario, we have no clear way of knowing, monitoring or measuring how many children could potentially be in this category.
“Without clear data, it could be assumed that 100 per cent of children taking school food make the highest choices each day. School food must be a way of enabling children to meet Scottish dietary goals, not a barrier.”