Leeds pupils tuck in to study about school dinners

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Yorkshire school children have delivered a damning verdict about their school meals frequently suggesting they are ‘unhealthy’, ‘fatty’ or ‘soggy’, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by Leeds Beckett University, found that pupils expected school meals to be just as ‘healthy’ as the meals provided at home. But researchers found that many of the pupils they spoke to complained that the portion sizes on offer are too large.

Dr Meaghan Christian, who led the study, said: “Pupils’ acceptance of school meals is important because if acceptance of school meals is low, pupils will eat generally unhealthy snacks or eat very little at lunchtime or have packed lunches instead.

“Pupils wanted to see more choices, particularly in side dishes such as vegetables and potatoes, and expected to see homemade fresh foods, prepared at the school, with fruit available every day. They had some great ideas for improving their eating habits at school, including more provision of fruit, incentives and rewards for picking healthy choices.”

Other concerns reported by catering managers included having to use more processed foods or sandwiches to meet raised target.

The study involved 128 primary school pupils from across the north of England.