Council cuts back on sugar in West Sussex school dinners

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Children in West Sussex primary schools are now consuming half a kilo less sugar in their school dinners – compared to last year.

West Sussex County Council said the amount of sugar in primary schools meals in West Sussex has been cut ‘significantly’.

The council said children who eat school dinners over 190 days are eating on average, 500 grams less sugar.

West Sussex County Council Public Health has been working with the West Sussex School Meals service on the initiative after sugar consumption was highlighted by Public Health England.

Christine Field, county council cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, said: “We’re very proud to have been commended by PHE for our work on sugar reduction. We know consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain and related health and dental problems.

“In West Sussex more than two-thirds of adults and one-in-three children aged 10-11 are above a healthy weight. That is why we must continue this excellent progress.”

Alongside recipe alterations, the county’s main school meals contractor also rebranded their meals.

Following a parent survey, a Food Superheroes theme was chosen to help engage with children.

Around 30,000 children eat school meals in primary schools every day across West Sussex.

Jeremy Hunt, the county council’s cabinet member for Education and Skills, added: “Ensuring our children have a nutritionally balanced school lunch is very important.

“Our schools meal team must be congratulated on the hard work they have undertaken to ensure the meals we provide for our primary school children are both healthy and nutritious.

“Our school lunches comply fully with the Government’s school food standards and have been awarded the Children’s Food Trust ‘Menu Checked’ mark, giving added peace of mind to parents.

“As well as reducing the levels of sugar in our meals, we have also greatly reduced salt levels and continue to look at ways to make further reductions, without comprising the meals in any way.”

Work is continuing on projects to encourage children to drink tap water as an alternative to sugary drinks and the availability of drinking water in schools.

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