New Isle of Man school dinner menus pass pupil taste test
31st October 2011
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The School Meals Service provides 3,000 tasty and nutritional midday meals for primary school pupils a day – that’s more than half a million a year.


Staff use computer software to analyse the exact ingredients of menus against standards set down by the UK Government, ensuring they meet minimum requirements for protein, zinc, iron and vitamins and don’t exceed maximum recommended levels of salt, sugar and fat.


But their challenge is also to tickle the taste buds, ensuring children enjoy the food that’s served up.


That seems to be working, with 89,000 more meals served up now than in 2008.


Chris Wilson, Schools’ Catering Manager, said school meals was among the first topics raised by the new Pupil Voice Forum – made up of primary pupils Island-wide.


‘As a result of meeting with pupils, it was decided to extend the tasting sessions we already held with pupils so that more schools could be involved in choosing the dishes that appeal to them,’ Mr Wilson said.


‘The response was fantastic and dishes that we thought might not be popular turned out to be among their favourites, so this half term dishes such as chicken pie, vegetarian pizza and Mexican-style chicken will all feature on menus.’


At Ballacottier School, where chicken pie was served up before October half term, the verdicts of eight pupils who assembled to try it were ‘delicious’, ‘tasty’ and ‘great’.

Parents were updated on menu changes via a leaflet distributed by schools before the half-term holiday.


The School Meals Service now has its own section on the DEC’s fast-growing wiki, which provides a wealth of information for parents, pupils and teachers.


By visiting parents can download menus, gain tips on what to put into packed lunches and share favourite recipes. More content will be added in the weeks to come.


‘I really hope the wiki becomes a tool by which parents and pupils can voice their opinions on the food we serve up in schools every day and add their ideas and content,’ Mr Wilson said.


To sign up for a primary school meal, speak to your school’s administrator.

Photo taken at Ballacottier Primary School showing:


 From left:  Teddy Davis, Luke Kenna, Francesca Avery and Alyssa Smith giving chicken pie the thumbs up with Helen McManus, catering operative.


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