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Families: Eating Habits

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will include in guidance to schools guidance on encouraging families to eat at home at night round the table; (135977)

(2) whether he plans to take steps to reduce the number of children spending money on unhealthy snacks in between meals.

We have no plans to issue guidance to schools on encouraging families to eat at home at night round the table. Arrangements for eating outside of school are rightly matters for individual families to decide. However, our school food programme is designed to help children to recognise the benefits of healthy eating, not only at school but also at home. This includes ensuring that all secondary school pupils will have an entitlement to learn to cook from 2008. This will ensure that they have the necessary skills to enable them to reproduce that healthy food at home.

New school food standards to be introduced in September 2007, cover both food served at lunchtime and at other times of the school day, building on the interim standards introduced in September 2006. The new school food standards will restrict snacks provided in schools to nuts, seeds, fruit or vegetables with no added salt sugar or fat. This will ensure that the food available to children throughout the day in school is healthy and nutritionally balanced. Recognising the benefits of healthy eating should also help to discourage pupils from buying unhealthy snacks on the way to and from school.