Chalkhill Primary School has recently introduced ‘Sugar Free Tuesdays’ whereby all food, drinks and snacks eaten on Tuesdays should be free of refined sugar.
Our Public Health team recently visited the school in Wembley to witness the campaign in action and got the chance to speak to a range of pupils from year 2 to year 6 about Sugar Free Tuesdays and other healthy lifestyle initiatives.
Pupils explained that on Tuesdays they swap sugar found in sweets and fizzy drinks for natural sugar from fruits instead. For example desserts such as custard and cake have been swapped for fruit salad. ‘The Crunch’ (the school’s canteen) make their own tomato ketchup as branded versions can contain more than one teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon portion.
As well as Sugar Free Tuesdays, the pupils are given healthy lifestyle tips at weekly assembly, educated about portion control and the tuck shop only sells healthy snacks such as fruit, homemade banana cake, fruit cups and crackers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The money made from the tuck shop goes towards free healthy snacks for Key Stage 2 pupils as currently the government only funds free healthy snacks for Key Stage 1 pupils and the school believes that no one should miss out.
When asked what was important for a healthy diet pupil’s responded with the following answers: 60 minutes of exercise a day; swap sugar for healthier options instead; drink more water; eat a balanced diet; eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; and check the labels of food for any hidden nasty’s.
Karima Peerwani, Assistant Head Teacher said:
“As a healthy school we engage with both the pupils and parents because it is important that the hard work we do at school continues at home. We host healthy packed lunch workshops and give out prizes for children who pack healthy options. We display information about the risks of eating too many sugary snacks on our notice boards and our elected etiquette inspectors promote making healthy food choices and drinking plenty of water.”
Well done to all the pupils and staff at Chalkhill for embracing Sugar Free Tuesdays. It’s a scheme that I hope all schools across Brent will consider.