Potatoes – the perfect ingredient for school menus

16/10/2008 - 00:00
With the final food-based and nutritional-based standards for primary schools now in force, the emphasis for Local Authority caterers and school meal providers is to maintain compliant menus.

The Potato Council has a new website full of features to help caterers with the new guidelines and prepare them for the secondary school meal standards that come into effect in September 2009. Available to download from the site is the full range of material designed specifically for school caterers: • Spuds Rule OK! Packed full of nutritional advice and a two week menu planner • Potato Recipe Guide; offering ten recipe ideas approved by the British Nutrition Foundation for day-to-day school meal service or as part of a themed Potato Day • A guide to holding a themed 'Potato Day' for primary schools • A guide to setting up a Jacket Potato Bar for secondary schools • Definitive Guide to potatoes – everything caterers need to know about cooking, handling and storing potatoes Heike Kroemer, Potato Council marketing executive, said: "The new nutrient-based rules aim to make food served in schools healthier by increasing the vitamin and mineral content, as well as decreasing the fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium levels. Potatoes, being naturally healthy and bursting with nutrients are the ideal choice for school caterers looking to implement and maintain compliant lunch menus." The new rules set out that an average school lunch should provide 30% of the total daily energy requirement and at least half of this should come from carbohydrates. Along with a type of bread with no added fat or oil, a starchy carbohydrate, such as potatoes, must be provided every day. And despite misconceptions, a food from the starchy group cooked in fat or oil can be provided up to three times a week, whilst food that been deep-fried in the cooking or manufacturing process can be served up to twice a week across the school day. Heike continued: "Jacket potatoes, for example, are an ideal choice for school menus as they're not only tasty and satisfying but also full of fibre, iron and a great source of Vitamin C. Combined with healthy fillings they can be a daily part of school meals and research has shown they can also persuade more pupils to take up a lunchtime meal. At a time when increasing food prices are also stretching budgets, potatoes are also an economical choice and their versatility is second to none." For more information and recipe ideas log onto www.potatoesforcaterers.co.uk and don't forget to order copies of the useful resource material today.

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