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Pupils get the flavour of International School Meals Day 27 February 2013

PRIMARY school pupils will taste foods from across the globe a week on Friday – the first ever International School Meals Day.

All primaries are putting on special French, Italian and Chinese menus, although normal menu choices are available.

The celebration of school meals is being back by Governmental and educational organisations and nutrition watchdogs. Its aims are to raise awareness of the importance of a nutritional midday meal and to emphasise the connection between diet and better learning.

The Department of Education and Children’s School Meals Service serves up to 3,500 meals a day, with the majority of children in school enjoying a tasty cooked meal or choosing from a range of salad bar options rather than bringing in a packed lunch.

School meals exceed key nutritional standards in areas such as fibre, protein, zinc and calcium and keep within standards on fat, salt and sugars.

Schools opting for the French menu on Friday 8th March will serve up French-style chicken with peas and ham, Sauté potatoes and French cheese with baguette and grapes. Those going Italian will enjoy Neapolitan pizza, red and green salads and Zeppole, a doughnut with topping. On the Chinese menu is sweet and sour chicken with Chinese style vegetables, special rice and a lychee pudding.

Chris Wilson, Schools Catering Manager, said:

‘I recently had the pleasure in talking to some Year 5 children at Scoill Ree Gorree and was inspired by their love of food. The variety of foods they liked ranged from Manx kippers and Manx cheese to spicy spare ribs and peppered squid. So when the opportunity arose to celebrate international cuisine on International School Meals Day, I thought we should embrace it. Of course, some children prefer more traditional dishes, which will also be available on the day.’

Chris said:

‘International School Meals Day really highlights how important school meals are now considered in so many countries, with the USA being the latest country to introduce stricter rules in order that their school meals served meet health standards.‘If parents need more information about school meals, or about healthy eating, they should contact me via chris.wilson@gov.im or go to our wiki www2.sch.im/groups/schoolmeals1/ where there is a lot of information available. Meals cost £1.95 a day and menus are rotated on a four-weekly cycle, and completely changed twice a year, to ensure children enjoy a good variety of food. We introduce a new menu after Easter, which will be posted on our wiki, too.’

For more information on International School Meals Day, visit www.internationalschoolmealsday.com The website contains helpful information for parents on food types, allergies and intolerances and eating disorders, among other topics. You can also follow @intschoolmeals on Twitter.

Pupils can sign up for school meals at any time and schools collect the money either termly or half termly. For more information, contact your school’s administrator.

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