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Move over Jamie Oliver – nine year old Martha Payne from Argyle has been sticking it to the man just recently after setting up a blog about her school dinners.

tutorhubHaving a passion for writing she wanted to set herself a project to work on outside of school hours, and with the help of dad Dave they hit upon the idea of creating a foody blog, complete with pictures, taking an objective look at the day-to-day school meals on offer. Incredibly, the blog has attracted some 300,000 hits, something we mere mortals can only aspire to…

Martha writes on the taste, price and nutritional value of the school food, there’s even a category dedicated to how much hair is found in each particular course. Happily, this section remains empty as yet.

A lot of people have commented on the seemingly meagre portions and lack of vegetable elements on offer at the school, and Dave himself has spoken of his surprise at the difference in portion size compared to when he took her to her first day at primary 1, where children are accompanied throughout the day and parents get to experience a day in the life, including lunchtime.

Head over to Martha’s blog and make up your own mind, in the meantime it’s worth taking a look at why school dinners are important and the positive effects a decent meal and healthy diet can have on a child’s energy, concentration, performance, memory and creativity.

According to the School Food Matters website:

* Recent research by the School Food Trust shows that school meals are now consistently more nutritious than packed lunches, giving the children who eat them a better foundation for good health.

* 92% of children consume more saturated fat than is recommended, 86% too much sugar, 72% too much salt and 96% do not get enough fruit and vegetables. Click here for more.

* A poor diet has significant effects on children’s behaviour, concentration and mood. Children with diets lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids tend to perform worse academically, cannot concentrate and are more aggressive.

* A study showed that healthy school meals significantly improved educational outcomes, in particular in English and Science, and led to a 15% reduction in absenteeism due to sickness. Click here for more.

* A School Food Trust study has shown that children in primary schools are 3x more likely to concentrate in the classroom following improvements to the food and dining room

The benefits of a decent balanced diet are becoming increasingly clear, and even outside of school hours a hearty tea will help when it comes to the dreaded after-dinner homework session.

 Food for thought, eh?

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