Healthy Eating Week takes place every year, aiming to encourage people to have a healthier and more sustainable diet. It is an annual initiative organised by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) focussing on providing, advice and support for everyone to find their way to eat a healthier diet with 5 different themes for each day of the week.
We celebrated the start of Healthy Eating Week on Monday when the theme was a ‘focus on fibre’ and as part of this encouraging pupils to have more whole grain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils. In class, pupils made high-fibre black bean brownies topped with pumpkin seeds. While our catering team produced an array of high-fibre foods in the dining hall with plenty of wholemeal bread and beautiful high-fibre bean salads. We ended the first day with the loveliest of assemblies about the role and importance of foods in different cultures and religions from our Chaplain Rev. Deborah Kirk and she taught us all the wonderful food origins of being a good ‘Companion’. Her scripture reading for the day was Acts 2: 44-47 “All the believers were together and had everything in common… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people”. She ended the assembly with these words of reflection to the pupils for the rest of the week, “Next time you sit down to eat – whether it is lunch here in the college, or dinner with members of your family, whether it is a full celebration meal or a slice of pizza with friends, remember the act of eating together is more than just nourishment for our bodies, it is the sharing of community, of ideas, of listening to the stories we tell one another, it is companionship. A final thought for you to consider – those of you who know Latin, will know that the word companion comes from ‘com’ meaning with, and ‘panis’, meaning bread. A companion is someone with whom we share bread or food. And a collection of companions is a community”.
The following day we were treated to a magnificent display of over 55 different fruits and vegetables served for lunch for Healthy Eating Week when the message for the day was to try and eat just ‘5-a-day’. Back in the Food and Nutrition classes we replicated that message with pupils making an array of different flavoured fruit smoothies and beautiful vegetable ratatouille dishes.
With the unusually hot weather on Wednesday, it was apt that we looked at the theme of ‘staying hydrated’. The message was to have about 6 -8 drinks a day for a healthy balanced diet. We did not need to worry about this theme as amazingly our catering team created an enormous hydration station with 10 different fresh fruit drinks being served for lunch. While back in class we taught about the benefits of water-soluble vitamins in our diets and how best to prepare fruit and vegetables to maximise their nutritional content.
Thursday was all about ‘varying your protein’. It was a message about trying a wider variety of proteins than you would usually and getting creative protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils because different foods have different types of proteins that our bodies need. In the dining hall, this meant a protein salad bar, with different Moroccan hummus dips with different breads, while back in the kitchen classroom, we made very flavoursome black-eyed bean falafels and dips.
Finally on Friday as a school, we looked at the theme of ‘reducing food waste’. The aim was for pupils to think about what the right amount at mealtimes is, portion sizes and how we avoid throwing food away. For the day our catering team worked hard to create a food waste farmers market display near to where pupils make their food choices to highlight both the environmental and economic issues impacting our food systems of food waste. In the Food and Nutrition kitchen classrooms, pupils already compost their food waste as part of their wider move towards zero waste, but this week saw pupils collecting and separating their food waste with the egg shells being recycling into teaching resources for Biology.
The whole successful Healthy Eating Week 2023 at Queen’s College ended with interactive cooking demonstrations and nutrition teaching from our catering team Executive Chef Jordan Bradley and visiting lead Food and Sports Nutritionist from London, Molly Wisbey. The classes focussed on meat preparation skills using fresh chickens and then the skills involved in making non-meat high protein dishes showing pupils how to make flatbreads and Moroccan hummus that were served on Thursday in the dining hall. In addition, pupils learnt about amino acids and protein complementation of meat alternatives and the sustainability of protein in our diets from our visiting nutritionist.
“It was evident that pupils at Queen’s were thinking more critically about their food this week and where their food comes from to ensure a more sustainable future-proofing of food”, said our Executive Chef, Jordan
“Throughout this week, and going forward, we continue to showcase the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and a positive relationship with food and drink at Queen’s College”, said Mr Mann, Head of the Faculty of Art, Design, and Food. He continued, “Healthy Eating Week has been wonderfully important in educating, inspiring and empowering our pupils, of all ages, to embrace healthy habits when it comes to food and drink”.