National School Meals Week

See what happened during National School Meals Week (NSMW) 2019

2019 marked 30 years since the formation of LACA, the School Food People and during that time the organisation has worked hard to promote the benefits, values and nutritional factors in today’s school food. During National School Meals Week 2019 this milestone was marked and LACA had a menu of activities that offered everyone involved in education catering the opportunity to get involved during the week and in some cases beyond. So what happened?

Summary of LACA Activity During NSMW ‘19

LACA Took NSMW Back ‘on the road’. LACAs ‘Taste for Yourself’ campaign visited all ten LACA regions where we met parents, journalists, dignitaries and the public at large encouraging them to “taste for themselves” modern day school food. At each stop, a different message was highlighted for example school caterers adapting menus for the increase in vegan diets, the move towards the use of certified sustainable palm oil, the importance of dairy in the school meals menu, how the industry supports local farmers/the local economy and of course is working extremely hard to ensure pupils with food allergies can be safely catered for in school. The combined messaging painted a very positive picture about the school meals industry. In summary, the tour highlighted some of the less known facts about school food, tackled outdated perceptions and demonstrated to the widest possible audience just how good today’s school meals really are.

To mark its 30th anniversary, LACA ran a ‘#30 School Meals Heroes’ campaign where weekly, we paid tribute to many of the heroes of the education catering industry. As each week passed, another piece of the jigsaw was completed, the final jigsaw demonstrating the broad range of individuals that contribute to make LACA the voice of the industry.

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Taste for Yourself’ was a school-based initiative to encourage non or occasional users of the school meals service, to see for themselves just how good today’s school meals are. For older pupils, often the barrier is misconceptions and LACA were keen to make sure pupils know what variety and choice is on offer to them. Resources were made available in English and Welsh for schools to promote ‘Taste for Yourself’ during NSMW (and beyond) and were free to download from the resources page. Many school caterers ran Taste for Yourself theme.

The LACA Chair launched the ‘Move it with LACA’ campaign during NSMW, tied in with the ‘daily mile’ which is popular in many schools. LACA want pupils to walk a Million miles over the next 12 months – more details will be available on the LACA website as the initiative unfolds. Healthy eating and healthy living go hand in hand and school meals help provide the fuel that the body needs to enjoy regular exercise.

Many caterers ‘Invite an MP to Lunch’ during NSMW, and this year was no exception. LACA encourage this, especially when this year’s main theme was ‘Taste for Yourself’. It is important MP’s know just how good today’s school food is and how important it is in terms of health and wellbeing, for children to have a nutritious, two course lunch in the middle of the school day.

On Wednesday 13th November, Roast Dinner Day brought people of different generations together over one of the nation’s favourite meals; the great roast dinner! Roast Dinner Day 2019 is the first event in the calendar of the newly-launched Food for Life Get Togethers programme. Funded by a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, Food for Life Get Togethers uses the power of good food to bring people of different generations together. The focus is on making people happier and healthier using good food, bringing communities together, and promoting a healthy relationship with food for kids.

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