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What kind of food should I expect to be able to get at school?

School food must meet standards set by the Scottish Government. This applies not just to school lunches, but to all food and drink served in breakfast clubs and after school clubs, or sold in tuck shops and from vending machines at school.

Food provides the body with substances known as nutrients, which it needs to make energy, and to perform tasks like growing, fighting disease, and thinking. The standards state that the food on offer at school should only contain a certain amount of sugar and fat, as too much of these nutrients can cause you to put on weight. The amount of salt in food served at school is limited by law, this is because children cannot handle as much salt as adults, and too much salt is bad for the heart. Finally, school lunch must provide a certain amount of nutrients called vitamins and minerals that you need for good health.

Savoury snacks, other than plain crackers, oatcakes, and breadsticks, are off the lunch menu, as are chocolate bars, sweets, cereal bars and soft drinks with added sugar. Chips should only be served as a side dish. Instead you should see at least two varieties of vegetables and fruits, and a variety of bread, daily. You should see fish on the menu at least once every three weeks. In a typical week you should see foods like tuna, ham/beef and chicken salad sandwiches, omelettes, a variety of salads and soups, jacket potatoes with a choice of filling, pasta dishes, bean dishes, cheese, yogurt, and fruit based puddings. Your school can offer savoury snacks like crisps as long as they are not available as part of lunch, and do not contain unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar or salt.

The law states that your school should provide you with free water whenever you want it.

Your school should not be using food or drink as a reward, but food served for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas does not have to meet the standards.

Your school has a legal duty to encourage you to eat school lunch; your school should therefore listen to you if you are unhappy with what is on offer. You should not be afraid to speak to the staff who serve you food at school, your classroom teacher, or head teacher.