When the NZ Government announced their trial roll-out of the free school lunch program, we were pleased but a little apprehensive about whether the food provided would be nutritious and tasty. Sadly, when the first school lunch images emerged in the NZ media recently, showing a cold fatty chicken drumstick, corn chips, dry pasta, half an apple showing signs of oxidation and some sliced carrots, it was evident that this wasn’t the nutritious, healthy lunch we were all hoping for. Sadly, the NZ Government hasn’t in place any mandatory nutritional standards to guide the program, and with a myriad of suppliers contracted by the Government to supply school lunches, there is no certainty that kids will get a consistently five-star nutritious lunch.
Our kids think they can help so the Amigo Advisory Board team have partnered with Year 13 Food Technology students at Westlake Boys High School on a project entitled “Be the Change” to research and develop a healthy school lunch program. The task will include setting nutritional standards based on International normative references and conducting school surveys to determine what healthy food choices kids prefer. The team will then formulate and trial a range of healthy school lunches and then publish the menus in a set of Healthy New Zealand School Lunch Guidelines.