The school caterer asked over 4,000 primary school pupils and their parents what they wanted to see on school menus, as well as what vegetables they enjoyed the most.
The Chartwells team went onto test some of the recipes with over 1,000 children until the meals received a ‘thumbs up’. Chartwells will be introducing the reworked recipes over the next few months, rolling them out to schools across the UK.
Chartwells’ chef Allegra McEvedy MBE designed the new menus, which will include only the top six vegetables to ensure the school food gets eaten to maximise nutrition and reduce food waste.
McEvedy said: "For schoolchildren lunch should be the highlight of their day: a chance to hang out and chat with their friends, relax, eat something yummy and fuel up for the afternoon.
“I’m really proud to have been working with Chartwells to make sure the children we feed have the best lunchtimes ever, whilst also giving their bodies and brains everything they need to power through the rest of the school day.”
Chartwells has also been working to launch its virtual ‘Beyond The Chartwells Kitchen’ programme, which aims to tackle obesity and raise mental health issues. The Super Yummy Kitchen YouTube Channel offers practical learning that families can utilise at home.
Meg Longworth, director of nutrition and sustainability at Chartwells, added: “Our approach is to keep the children at the heart of everything we do and our ‘Thumbs Up’ campaign has given us confirmation of what they want to eat at school.
“This means they’ll be heading back to lessons after lunch with full stomachs and getting the nourishment they need. We know this supports mental wellbeing and academic achievement, so it’s really important we’re maximising the opportunity for children to get the most out of their meal.