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Celebrating Healthy Eating Week

Healthy eating

To mark Healthy Eating Week, our blog this week focusses on what your school can do to get involved and offer ways to encourage pupils to eat a nutritious, balanced diet and become more active.

What is Healthy Eating Week?

Established by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), and running from 13 to 17 June, Healthy Eating Week is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to focus on healthy eating and physical activity, in order to form healthier lifestyle habits.

The campaign concentrates on the following five health challenges:

  • Eat breakfast
  • Fit in your five-a-day
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get active
  • Try something new

Eat breakfast

A nutritious breakfast lays the foundations for a productive day and is associated with many health benefits, including improvements to concentration and cognitive performance. We can’t expect pupils to perform to the best of their ability if they are too hungry to concentrate. healthy breakfast

The government has promised to use part of its ‘sugar-tax’ on fizzy drinks to contribute £10 million towards an extra 1,600 school breakfast clubs. In addition to this, the DfE’s new guidance on wraparound and holiday care encourages schools to provide breakfast clubs as a way of helping parents to access the childcare they need, ensuring that more pupils have a healthy breakfast to start their school day.

A healthy breakfast consists of:

  • High-fibre or wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread or porridge oats.
  • A source of protein, such as nuts, seeds or eggs.
  • At least one portion of fruit or vegetables.
  • Dairy food or a fortified dairy alternative such as natural yogurt, semi-skimmed milk or cottage cheese.

To encourage pupils to meet this challenge, you could:

  • Invite parents/carers and their children to eat breakfast together in school.
  • Ask pupils to get involved in designing a healthy breakfast dish to be served during the week.

Fit in your five-a-day


rainbow fruit and vegIn 2014, it was reported that only 7 to 10 percent of young people managed to meet the recommended daily intake of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables. The risk of a wide range of health problems, such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease, can be minimised by encouraging young people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

A portion of fruit and vegetables is classed as 80 grams, which could be any of the following:

  • A slice of a large fruit, e.g. a melon, or half a large fruit, e.g. grapefruit
  • One medium sized fruit, e.g. an apple
  • Two small sized fruits, e.g. plums or satsumas
  • Two heaped tablespoons of peas, beans or pulses

Children should try to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables by eating foods from all the colours of the rainbow.

To encourage pupils to meet this challenge, you could:

  • Provide a rainbow of fruit and vegetables dishes on a ‘five-a-day’ table, so that pupils find the challenge more appealing.
  • Offer layered ‘rainbow’ salads or colourful coleslaws as an accompaniment to lunches.
  • Involve pupils in the BNF Healthy Eating Week cook-a-long activities.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration can negatively affect your pupils’ concentration levels, so it is vital that they are given opportunities to stay hydrated. The amount of fluid a child needs to drink depends on many factors, including their age, the weather, and how much physical activity they do, but generally, they should aim to drink six to eight glasses of fluid per day. A glass would equate to a 120-150ml serving for younger children, and a 250-300ml serving for older children.water

Water is always the best option, followed by low-fat milk. A 150ml serving of natural fruit juice can also be included, which would also contribute towards the recommended five-a-day intake of fruit or vegetables.

To encourage pupils to meet this challenge, you could:

  • Provide a ‘water bar’ during lunch time, featuring jugs of water flavoured with different fruits, vegetables and herbs.
  • Offer a different fruit or vegetable juice to serve with lunch each day (remember to stay within the recommended 150ml serving guidelines).

Get active

According to NHS guidelines, young people aged 5- to 18-years-old need to undertake at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, which should range from moderate exercise such as cycling, or playground activities, to vigorous exercise such as running and tennis.get active

Three times a week, activities should include exercises which build strong muscles and bones, such as push-ups, jumping and running.

Young people should also reduce the time they spend on sedentary activities such as watching TV and playing computer games.

To encourage pupils to meet this challenge, you could:

  • Organise group games during lunch time.
  • Encourage parents/carers to leave the car at home and walk their child to or from school.

Try something new

try something new

The final challenge focusses on encouraging pupils to try something new, which could be
something as simple as trying a new type of fruit or vegetable, to having a go at a new type of activity or a twist on a favourite one.


To encourage pupils to meet this challenge, you could:

  • Set up a table of more unusual fruit and vegetables to try, such as custard apples (also known as cherimoya), romanesco broccoli or celeriac.
  • Challenge pupils to try a range of different sport activities in a carousel style event.


Healthy Eating Week Recipe from our catering expert The Canny Kitchen

Canny K


Meatballs with an Italian-style tomato sauce, served in warmed tortillas with rainbow slaw


(4 portions)

300g lean minced beef/steak

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

200mls passata or blended tinned tomatoes

1/2 an onion (finely chopped)

1/4 teaspoon mixed herbs

1 tsp tomato purée

1/2 teaspoon garlic purée or crushed garlic clove

Seasoning (salt and pepper) to taste

Freshly torn basil leaves to garnish

For the slaw

50g red cabbage (thinly sliced)

50g white cabbage (thinly sliced)

50g fresh carrots (grated)

1/4 of a red onion (finely chopped)

Fresh mixed peppers (thinly sliced)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Seasoning to taste

Combine all ingredients together in advance.


  1. In a bowl, combine the minced beef with the finely chopped onion, garlic and seasoning, and mould into small balls (approximately 12).
  2. Brown the meat by frying the meatballs in a little vegetable oil, then set aside.
  3. Make the tomato sauce in the used pan by combining the passata, tomato purée, mixed herbs, garlic and seasoning, and simmering gently for five minutes.
  4. Add the meatballs and cook with lid on for around 15 minutes.
  5. Warm the tortillas in a microwave or oven and top with two or three meatballs, spoon over some sauce and garnish with torn or chopped basil leaves.
  6. Serve with rainbow slaw.


British Nutrition Foundation (2016) ‘BNF Healthy Eating Week 2016: Planning guide’

British Nutrition Foundation (2013) ‘Hydration for children’, <> [Accessed: 13 June 2016]

NHS (2015) ‘Physical activity guidelines for children and young people’, <> [Accessed: 13 June 2016]

Public Health England (2014) ‘New National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows UK population is eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt’, <> [Accessed 13 June 2016]

Jamie’s Food Revolution (2016) ‘Healthy Eating Week 2016’, <> [Accessed 13 June 2016]


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