Earlier this year The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) released new research findings, relating to food education amongst children. The BNF surveyed 5000+ school children aged from 5-16 years. They found that 13% of 8-11-year olds thought that pasta came from an animal, 18% of 5-7-year olds said that they thought fish fingers were made of chicken.
The survey further revealed that in the 14-16-year age bracket, 6% of children thought that dairy cows produced eggs and 10% of 11-14-year olds did not know that carrots and potatoes grow underground. One positive to be taken from the survey is that 82% of 11-14-year olds knew that dried fruit and vegetables count towards your five-a-day… but where are we going wrong with the rest?
We asked abm catering’s in-house Nutritionist, Samantha Prior, why educating children on nutrition and the source of our food is so important, especially as a contract caterer, she said: “Encouraging children to explore a variety of different foods at a young age is paramount, to setting a healthy view on food and eating habits when children grown up. Without building on these expertise at a young age many young adults and older find cooking meals daunting and resort to a ‘beige diet’ that is void of nutrients.”
Samantha works hard with our Development Chefs and catering units to ensure their menus are well balanced, nutritious and still delicious! It is crucial that as a contract caterer we arm children with the support and information they need to have a balanced and healthy diet.
Roy Ballam, Managing Director and Head of Education at the BNF, said: “With no formal professional support provided to teachers centrally, schools and individual teachers take on the responsibility for interpreting and delivering the curriculum in their own way. This approach means that there is a risk of conflicting or misleading messaging being disseminated through schools across the UK. This, combined with the latest results of the survey showing that the Internet is one of the most popular sources of information for teenagers, means that it has never been more important for schools and teachers to be armed with the correct information so that children and young adults are able to decipher between fact and fake news.”
Within abm catering our investment in children goes beyond the kitchen, drawing on our experience we have developed a range of interactive activities to expand children’s knowledge and understanding of nutrition, creating a real passion for food. Our love of food is something we want to pass on to the next generation, so we work hard with key stage 1 and 2 pupils during interactive assemblies, workshops, field trips and working with them in the garden. This ensures a joined-up approach to learning and educating children on health and nutrition.