A transformation of meal choices has taken place in Clackmannanshire's three secondary schools over the summer and pupils will be able to taste the difference as a result.
Schools meals have changed for the better. Fizzy drinks have been replaced with fresh fruit juices, milk and water. Processed meat products such as pies, sausage rolls and hot dogs have been replaced with tasty and traditional meals.
The new menus, which will be in school dining halls from Tuesday 22nd August, have already been piloted in Alloa Academy where Rector Ralph Barker described the initiative as a "great success."
He said: "I think it's vitally important that healthy eating habits are encouraged at school and I'm delighted with the new menus. During the early days of the pilot I heard a few pupils saying that they missed their plate of chips, but the number of pupils taking a school meal remained the same which shows that the new menus are popular. The change has also been enthusiastically welcomed by staff and the school board and I'm delighted Alloa was at the forefront of promoting these new menus in Clackmannanshire."
Pupils will be able to dine on delicious and nutritionally balanced meals created in their school's kitchen using fresh ingredients. A range of hot meals will be on the menu such as steak mince with vegetables and vegetable risotto. Homemade soup and baked potatoes will be available every day, as will a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, baguettes and salads.
Fresh fruit, yoghurt, fruit salad and home baking will be available every day, as will milk and water.
The new menus also boast a wider selection to choose from and a vegetarian option is always available. The options also change according to the season, and within each seasonal menu a four-week cycle operates.
Education spokesperson Councillor Bobby McGill said: "We have prided ourselves on the quality of food available in our primary schools for a while and now is the time for our secondary school pupils to taste the difference in their dining halls.
"There is incontrovertible scientific evidence that diet affects behaviour and young people who eat well are more likely to perform better in class. We all know how important it is for children and young people to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. It takes time and a lot of hard work to ensure that children develop lifelong health eating habits and by making these changes to our menus we are making a significant contribution to that goal.
"Secondary school pupils in Clackmannanshire now have an even better choice of meals with a balance of popular dishes and tasty new options on the menu."
A range of meal deals will be available in the dining halls and pupils will only be able to buy main courses as one item - chips will not be available to buy on their own.
The new menus will also affect what is on sale before school and at break time. Breakfast clubs will be serving up toast and cereal as well as smoothies and fresh fruit juices while at morning break hot filled rolls, baguettes and salads will be available.
All the menus have been analysed and each meal is guaranteed to contain a healthy balance of nutrients and be low in fat, sugar and salt, meeting nutritional guidelines set down by the Scottish Executive.
Clackmannanshire Council has implemented the Nutrient Standards for school lunches set by the Scottish Executive in primary and special schools since August 2004 and with the introduction of these new menus, the Hungry for Success standards will now be implemented in our secondary schools.