MORE than 300 schools in Cumbria are expected to benefit from a new set of standards for all food served to pupils.

The new government guidelines are designed to make it easier for school cooks to create imaginative, flexible and nutritious menus.

They will be mandatory in all maintained schools, and new academies and free schools.


Previous standards, introduced by the Department for Education between 2006 and 2009, were complicated and expensive to enforce.

Cooks had to use a special computer programme to analyse the nutritional content of every menu.

Often they ended up following three-week menu plans sent out by centralised catering teams who would do the analysis for them.

This meant they couldn’t be as flexible or creative as many would like.

The new standards include:

  • One or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day
  • At least three different fruits, and three different vegetables each week
  • An emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates
  • An emphasis on making water the drink of choice
  • Limiting fruit juice portions to 150mls
  • Restricting the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks to five percent
  • No more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated, or breadcrumb-coated.
  • No more than two portions of food which include pastry each week.