A recent survey found that the average child eats only two of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, and nee in five has no fruit or vegetables at all. In comparison 80% of children regularly eat snack foods such as biscuits, chocolate and chips. Combined with the fact that children today lead relatively inactive lives it is no surprise then that rates of obesity in children are increasing rapidly – currently 1 in 5 boys and 1 in 4 girls are either overweight or obese.
It is also of concern that a poor diet in childhood contributes to the development of dental decay and diseases of adulthood such as coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer. The increasing availability of snacks over the ears has been blamed for encouraging poor eating habits. But there is some good news – it’s not snacking itself that is bad for you it’s what you snack on. Children (especially younger children) have high energy and nutrient requirements for their size. Because of this they need to eat regularly, and nutritious snacks between meals are an important part of the day.
Tuck shops have traditionally offered a selection of high fat and high sugar foods, and as such have been criticized for encouraging poor eating habits. However, they need not be unhealthy, and with a little bit of thought an be an important vehicle through which healthy eating habits are established. In 2001 the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills launched the ‘Food in Schools’ programmer with the aim of finding ways to enable schools to develop and implement sustainable strategies to improve the diets of children.
As part of the programmer, one of the projects is focusing on how schools can make healthier tuck shops a reality. This pack has been put together for the South West Schools’ Healthier Tuck Shops Project (part of the Food in Schools programmer). It is based on survey results from over 1400 schools in the South West Region and indents focus group work in schools that already run a tuck shop, as well as information from other parts of the country. All the advice relates to operations selling food and drink at morning break. Schools have found there are many benefits in running a healthier tuck shop.
A big positive factor is that pupils get a nutritional ‘boost’ in the morning – especially important for those who miss breakfast before school. Running a healthier tuck shop also: health of children approach to healthy eating habits in early life Is included in the criteria of the National Healthy Schools Award Shows parents you consider the health of their children to be important A healthier tuck shop can also generate a small amount of additional income for the school. However, you still need to keep costs fairly low so that all children, regardless of family income, can use the tuck shop.
It has also been suggested that providing healthier alternatives in the morning: Improves performance and behavior and reduces truancy Contributes to a healthy immune system, reduces illness and hence absenteeism Improves dental health due to a reduction in the mount and frequency of sugar eaten So whether you are thinking of starting up a tuck shop from scratch or wanting to convert an existing tuck shop to a healthier one, this pack will make sure your project is successful, sustainable and stress-free. We had a backlash from a few parents at the beginning because they felt they hadn’t been informed about what was happening and were being told how to feed their children. But we got through, and the staff supported me. Now we make sure all new parents know the policy” Headache, primary school. Preparing for your healthier tuck shop 1. 1 What is a healthier success. In addition it is tuck shop? Always wise to keep your unhealthier tuck shops are a way for schools to promote healthy eating as part of a whole school approach to food.
Healthier options can be provided at breakable, so schools provide consistent health messages in the classroom and at all school eating occasions. Making healthier snacks and drinks available to children in tuck shops encourages them to try new foods and makes it more likely that they will continue to make healthier choices for the rest of their lives. Tuck shops can support other related activities, which fit in with the National Curriculum and the National Healthy Schools Standard, such as innumeracy and literacy. House caterer on side as they may be able to help you with equipment, storage etc.
If they are to run the tuck shop for you a good relationship is essential to enable you to keep some control over what is sold and at what price. Before you go ahead with your tuck shop you need to make sure that it is something people want – otherwise there is little chance it will succeed. Make sure you have talked with the school community (pupils, parents, staff and governors) before you set up yours. A simple survey to assess their views will be time well spent. This doesn’t eve to be very difficult and could be done at an assembly, parents evening or through the school newsletter.
It could even be carried out by pupils as part of a math activity. A survey gives you the chance to find out what people would like to see the tuck shop selling, how much they would be willing to pay, estimate the number of potential customers and perhaps identify some willing helpers. If you plan to change what your existing tuck shop sells or impose new restrictions on food brought into school at break time, you may meet some resistance. Discussion with key people early on can help prevent this. A keen planning group is a necessary part of setting up and keeping a tuck shop going.
It is important to have a named person leading the project, so that someone has ultimate responsibility. It’s up to you to decide who is represented on your group – pupils should always be included (perhaps via the school council), and parents, teachers, governors, catering staff, school nurses can also provide useful input. Senior management support and involvement will help the project along and ensure its 1. 2 Setting up a planning group Determining what the tuck shop should offer Advantages Fruit and vegetable tuck shops General fruit & vegetable consumption may be increased.
Litter from crisp and chocolate wrappers may be less of a problem. The smaller range of items sold may make service more manageable. As there is usually only one supplier to deal with ordering is easier. Little equipment is needed. Seasonal produce are usually cheaper. Healthier tuck shops Customer choice is increased. A wider range of products may attract more customers. Children who skipped breakfast can have a more substantial snack before lunch. Dry goods are less perishable and have a longer shelf life. It is difficult to prevent “drift” towards unhealthy products.
You may need to order or shop from a number of different suppliers, which will increase your workload. More storage may be needed. More preparation time and equipment may be needed, especially if you are selling items such as sandwiches, toast or milkshakes. Disadvantages Some parents worry that fruit or vegetables do not provide enough energy to keep young children going until lunchtime. This is less of an issue if breakfast is eaten before or at school. Perishable fruits “go off’ quickly which may increase wastage and reduce profit margin. To prevent this spoilage you may need to order more recently or review storage arrangements. . 4 What to sell – fruit and vegetables only or healthier snacks In 2000 the government launched the National School Fruit Scheme, which entitles every 4-6 year old school child to a piece of fruit each school day. With the drive to increase fruit and vegetable consumption many schools have set up their own tuck shops selling fruit and vegetables only. Other schools, however, have chosen to offer a wider range of healthier snacks either in place of, or alongside the more usual ‘tuck’. Ultimately, the choice of what to sell should be decided by the planning group after consultation tit the school community.
It will also depend on a variety of factors such as time and staff available for ordering, preparation, service and clearing up, storage and preparation facilities and available equipment. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of venture (see table above). In practice, demand, cost and nutritional content are the main determinants of what is sold at tuck shops. The demand for ‘unhealthy’ products is the main reason for tuck shops closing down and will ultimately undermine your attempts to make your healthier tuck shop a successful venture.
This gaslights the need for good promotion and marketing of the healthier products (see Section 3. 2), as well as a change of culture to encourage children to start thinking of certain foods and drinks as suitable snacks, egg vegetables. Cost is also a strong tool for influencing purchasing decisions and competitive pricing of healthier products should also be considered. From the five different food groups. The trick comes in knowing how much to eat. The Balance of Good Health plate model can help you with this – simply eat a variety of foods from each group in the proportions shown overleaf.
It is important to member that there are no ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ foods. It is the overall balance of the diet that is important. However to achieve a balanced diet in practice this generally means: Basing your meals on 1. 5 Using the Balance of Good Health The best way to ensure a healthy balanced diet is to eat a wide range of foods vegetables – aim for at least five portions of different fruit and vegetables each day. Choosing moderate amounts of lean meat, fish, beans and pulses. Having reduced fat dairy foods, egg milk, yogurts and cheese three times a day. Cutting down on foods that are high in fat and/or sugar. Reproduced by kind permission of the Food Standards Agency) 5 1. 6 Choosing healthier snacks Tuck shops have traditionally sold an array of high fat and/ or high sugar foods such as crisps, sweets, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. However, in recent years there has been a move to provide healthier options, as schools recognize the need to adopt a whole school approach to healthy eating. It is difficult to say what constitutes a ‘healthy’ snack as there are many considerations to take into account. Seemingly healthy items labeled as ‘low fat’ may actually contain a lot of sugar and vice versa.
This confusion is evident in schools as when asked to name ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ products there was some degree of overlap between the two lists. In particular, homemade items such as biscuits and cakes were considered much healthier than shop bought ones. In general terms, the healthiest snacks are low in fat, sugar and salt and high in fiber. To help you decide what to offer in your tuck shop, the following lists categories snacks based on their fat, sugar and salt content. In practice it is best to offer most foods from the green list, some from the amber list and none (or verify) from the red list.
GREEN These are the healthiest snacks to choose. All contain no added sugar or salt and are low in fat. AMBER These may contain a little sugar, salt or fat or damage the teeth, but contain other nutrients that have health benefits. Dried fruit Teacakes, scones or currant buns Plain biscuits, egg digestive, rich tea Low fat/low sugar cakes and biscuits Low fat fruit yogurts or frontage frail Salted popcorn Reduced fat crisps, egg twisted Cheese & tomato pizza Pure fruit Juice Sugar free squash Flavored water Diet fizzy drinks Smoothies or milkshakes Low calorie hot chocolate RED These are all high in fat, sugar or salt. Dead, chapatti Chocolate bars Chewy or boiled sweets Ordinary crisps and corn snacks How to set up and sustain your healthier tuck shop Crumpets, English muffins Crackers and crossbreeds Plain popcorn or rice cakes Breadfruits Plain water Semi skimmed milk Mints Meat based pizza with lots of cheese Hot dogs Ordinary squash Ordinary fizzy drinks 6 1. 7 Funding and support Often the hardest part of setting up a tuck shop is finding the initial funds and support to get it up and running. After this, most schools find their tuck shops easily become self-funding.
Here are some suggestions to help you find your feet: At the start of the project you need to decide whether you want to make a small profit from your tuck shop or not. Obviously this will affect your pricing policy and may affect the ability of some children to buy certain produce. Even if you are not intending to make a profit you will need to sell your ‘tuck’ a little above cost price to allow for wastage etc. If you do make a profit, you will have to decide what to do with the extra money. You may want to fund other healthy eating projects, purchase sports equipment or other resources, egg books.
Your decisions are best made by asking the school community for their ideas. Remember if you charge too much you may be disadvantaging children from lower income families. Approach your school’s 7 Parent Teachers Association to see if they have any funds available or can arrange a special fund raising event. Contact local shops, supermarkets, markets etc to see if they would be willing to donate the first month’s supplies free of charge – if the tuck shop takes off and you shop with them regularly this will be to their advantage. Hold a ‘Bring and Buy’ sale or a coffee morning to raise some money to start you off. Many people can help give you advice, information, training and resources – see 1. 8 Finding volunteers The key to a successful tuck shop is to find willing volunteers to organism its day-to day-running, egg ordering, preparation, service and clearing up. There are a number of ways of attracting volunteers: “It’s mostly the children who run the tuck shop for us. They get so much out of it and it’s a privilege to be a volunteer. It has worked well to team a quieter child with someone more outgoing. Teaching assistant, Junior school. Notices in the school Asking for help in school swelter assemblies, parent evenings and PTA meetings Offering food hygiene training as an incentive Offering a free item of ‘tuck’ for each volunteer! Your school may have a policy on who can work with children in school which you need to check out first. Usual volunteers are: parents grandparents teachers school nurses learning support assistants local youth workers. It is a good idea to make one person responsible overall – ideally an adult.
Research has shown that an enthusiastic and willing adult in charge is vital to the success of a tuck shop. As the loss of key volunteers can lead to the closure of tuck shops try also o have a list of standby volunteers in case one of your regulars drops out, or develop a Rota to share the work out. Make sure any procedures are well documented in case your main volunteer is unavailable. 8 And don’t forget the pupils themselves. Many schools have a Rota of children who help out and some tuck shops are run almost entirely by pupils. You may decide to ask your in-house caterer to run the tuck shop.
This means their staff take care of all the ordering, preparation, service and clearing up. It also means you won’t have to worry about recruiting any staff, storage issues or buying any necessary equipment. However, if you choose this route you need to make sure that you lay down some rules regarding pricing and choice of ‘tuck’ to be sold. Otherwise you may find you have little control of either. 2. 1 Facilities and equipment These will depend on the types of food and drink you choose to sell in your tuck shop. It is important that everything meets with the appropriate health and safety requirements.
This may sound daunting, but a chat with your local Environmental Health Department or school health and safety representative will sort out any potential problems. 2. 1. 1 Storage Ideally your storage area should be close to your reparation and distribution area. For dry goods a cool, dry area or cupboard is all that is needed. If you choose to sell chilled and perishable items, e. G. Yogurts and smoothies you will need a fridge. Many schools store their supplies in the school kitchen, and have a cupboard or shelf clearly marked for the use of the tuck shop.
Other schools keep supplies in the staff room or in classrooms, often on a trolley for ease of transport. If you are selling fruit and vegetables: Store in a cool place, on delivery. Discard any damaged items Remove any plastic wrappings before storage as they encourage the growth of moulds. Remember that bananas ripen quicker in the dark. 2. 1. 2 Preparation Preparation time will depend on what you choose to sell in your tuck shop. Consider how long it will take you to set up shop at your chosen venue, as well as the time needed to wash and chop fruits and vegetables, make sandwiches, etc.
You may be able to prepare things in the school kitchen. If not, a table covered with a plastic cloth should be sufficient. Make sure you wipe it with an anti-bacterial spray before and after use. You will also need the use of a sink for washing your hands, and a separate one for washing any fruit or gettable and washing up. Other useful equipment includes: preferably off the ground. Aprons Chopping boards Knives Scissors Paper towels or napkins Paper bags Tea towels Plastic cups Tin for money Blender Toaster 9 2. 1. Distribution As most tuck shops operate in the same place each day, it makes sense for this to be somewhere close to your storage and preparation areas and easily accessible to the pupils. In many cases this may simply be a table or trolley queuing and where it will not cause an obstruction, egg to fire exits. Above all your chosen venue for the tuck shop should be warm and welcoming. There are a number of ways you can achieve this: Using brightly colored Displaying items in wicker background. Posters. Plastic tablecloths. Assets or colored bowls. Personal hygiene Always wash your hands thoroughly before you prepare food and after going to the toilet. Tie back long hair. Keep Jewelry too minimum. Don’t cough or sneeze over food. Cover up cuts or grazes with a waterproof plaster – colored plasters will be more easily seen if they fall into food. Always wear a clean apron. Don’t handle food if you feel unwell or have any skin, nose, throat or bowel complaint. It is also worth reminding pupils to wash their hands before they eat at the tuck shop.
Food safety Spray work tables with anti-bacterial spray before and after use. Keep your preparation area clean and tidy as you go along. Clean everything thoroughly after use. Always wash fruit and vegetables and peel carrots. Young children should never be left alone with sharp knives and older children should be supervised if using them. Do not use any utensils used for preparing food for anything else. If you are using chilled goods, e. G. Milk, yogurts, remember to put them in the fridge soon after purchase. Keep the coldest part of your fridge at 0-ICC. Check use-by dates and best-before dates. Put newly bought goods to the back of your storage cupboard or fridge and use the older ones first. Having music playing in the Displaying colorful Some schools choose to have a mobile tuck shop on a trolley which can be wheeled around each classroom in turn at break time. A mobile shop has the advantage of being able to go outside when the weather is good. 2. 2 Hygiene matters Even though you may only be selling a small range of foods and drinks it is important to follow the simple hygiene tips below.