Healthy living – exercise and eating
January is always a time for reflection. Adults often commit to new eating regimes, join a gym and all too often, by February, many of our good intentions have gone by the way side. Here at Pilgrims, we take a balanced approach in the provision of healthy meals and snacks for all our children and also in the activities and exercise we provide across the curriculum. With the emphasis on being healthy, it makes it very straightforward for our children to embrace this and we are always delighted that our parents join in with our ethos. When both home and school play a shared role in shaping the habits and understanding of healthy living for our children in their daily lives, then we can be confident that those good habits and messages will endure.
One way we like to promote healthy living is by encouraging children to walk to school, or to ride their bike/scooter, wherever possible. We are suitably located next to Bedford Park and have our very own access gate so we like to encourage parents to leave the car at home and enjoy a stroll/ride/run through the park.
At school, our catering team is ever-resourceful in ensuring that the children have a balanced diet, whilst making it as delicious as possible. All our food is prepared from scratch on site, each day, so the team can keep a close eye on what goes into it (or doesn’t!). A few of the golden rules they apply are:
- All school meals are cooked without adding any extra salt; herbs and seasoning are added for flavouring instead
- For their morning snack the children have fruit and are also offered something else to choose from such as: cream crackers, cheese fingers, dried fruit, breadsticks, homemade carrot cake, flapjack or scones
- All cakes and tray bakes have had their recipe sugar intake quartered and yet they still taste delightful
- All our tomato sauces are cooked with carrots and courgettes added and blended in for extra goodness; the children don’t realise how nutritious the sauces are, just how delicious!
- All sausages, cod fillet fish fingers and chicken fillet nuggets are oven-baked rather than fried
- We use 50/50 wholemeal & white flour to make our bread
- All vegetables are freshly steamed to retain their goodness & nutrition
- We serve fresh, natural, unsweetened yoghurt, topped with a range of fruit purees so the children can create their own flavours
- Additionally, fresh fruit is available all day long; children can choose it for breakfast, snack time, lunchtime, at after school clubs or at Owls
- In the spirit of keeping the children interested in trying new flavours and introducing new superfoods, we have added goji berries into our flapjacks and chia seeds to our biscuits as hidden health boosters
- We have introduced popcorn as a morning snack; it is ‘popped’ in the kitchen with no added salt or sugar making it a healthy and nutritious snack
Our catering manager, Pam, is always keen to share her healthy recipes so that parents can have a go at recreating the children’s favourite, nutritious snacks at home:
Chocolate and beetroot cake
For 24 portions
250g pureed cooked beetroot
½ tsp vanilla essence
225g plain flour
300g castor sugar
250ml sunflower oil
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine all ingredients together with an electric whisk until it is well mixed.
Pour batter in a greased & lined baking tray. 9 x 13 in or similar.
Bake for about 25 mins on gas 4/ 180c until the sponge has risen and bounces back to touch.
Look out for additional recipes over the coming weeks – these will include some of the children’s favourites.