Desserts cut from menus at Glasgow primary schools

No more custard and jelly – and less meat on the menu.

These are just two changes Glasgow City Council has introduced to primary school meals as it rolls out healthy food for children.

Fruit and yoghurt only are being offered to kids for dessert instead of sugar-loaded sweet treats.

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The amount of red meat on offer has been reduced – and only appears three times on the weekly menu at primaries and nurseries.

Children are also served up two portions of fresh vegetables with dinner, according to a report presented at a council meeting on August 18.

Speaking at the meeting, SNP Councillor Margaret Morgan said: “This is very close to my heart having taught many many hungry children.

“Hungry children really don’t learn and for many children it is the only meal of the day.”

She added: “When I was first elected in some schools I was horrified at the quality of the food that was on offer for children. Thankfully that seems to be addressed in this report.”

A Halal menu is also available for children.

A school meals update was presented in a report to the Education, Skills and Early Years City Policy Committee.

P4 pupils have joined P1s to P3s in receiving free school meals in the city. P5 children are due to receive them in January followed by P6 and P7 in August next year.

To roll out the extra meals to the 140 primary schools – the council is planning to open another 40 kitchens. There are already 59. There is also a bid to swap plastic multi-portion serving trays for melamine plates and bowls.

The number of pupils registered for free school meals has risen sharply since March 2020 up from 25,899 to 27,804. The council expects an uptake of 70 per cent of school meals.

Speaking at the meeting, SNP Councillor Elaine Ballantyne said: “It is really good to see the nutritional aspect of the free school meals being addressed. We know this may be the only nutritious meal some kids may have.”

The changes in school meal content come following updates to Scottish Government nutrition legislation.

The council’s head of catering and facilities management Stephen Sawers said: “This is not just about complying with legislation it is about service improvement and going on a journey in terms of educating our children in terms of food choices and behaviours.”

He told the committee staff have been receiving training to improve recipes and quality of food.

The council is drafting plans to allow food to be pre-ordered soon ,which could reduce waste and provide information on popular meals.

Over the past year the catering team have been working with the Soil Association on sustainability and service improvement.