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Wellbeing 2: healthy eating

6 May 2016


A healthy, balanced diet is an important aspect of maintaining health and wellbeing. Our Wellbeing 2 funding aimed to increase awareness of, and access to, healthy foods.


What the funding delivered

  • 43% of adults said they had made positive changes to their eating habits because of a project.


What can Wellbeing 2 can tell us about healthy eating?

  1. Shorter courses for families (such as a cooking session, recipe creation, or a healthy shopping trip) can be popular and help people take their first steps towards adopting a healthier attitude.
  2. But if we want to develop skills around food, then longer term courses that gradually pass over responsibility for eating and diet are more likely to be the answer.
  3. We need to make healthy eating activities enjoyable and fun! If the tone of the activity is dull or demanding then it’s less likely to illicit long term change.
  4. Good projects tick two boxes. They address both “what’s effective” and “what people want to take part in”.
  5. Through all this work, we should demonstrate how healthy eating can be achieved on a budget.
  6. Quick wins can be good. So providing clear, simple recipes that only use a few ingredients may be quick and simple, but can also be a big step in the right direction.
  7. Food is sociable. As well as improving eating habits, group activities also promote social interaction (which in turn aids wellbeing). There’s a feedback loop.
  8. We should provide appropriate food-related activities that are culturally aware of the people who may want to take part.


The funding in action

Bolsover Church of England Junior School in Derbyshire has over 290 pupils and has been a Food for Life gold award holder since 2010. Some years ago, the school had no facilities for cooking, growing or farming. They now have a specially designated cookery classroom with dedicated design technology teachers, garden, polytunnel, an orchard and a ‘farm’ where they raise chickens, pigs and goats.

Headteacher Rowena Herbert tells us how the school has changed its culture, with a little help from Food for Life.

The Community Fruit and Veg project 035“The children have developed new skills, gained in confidence, and are seeing what they have grown. Food for Life has raised awareness of the whole of food culture – what we eat, how we produce and cook it – and the children really enjoy this. Many people comment on how food orientated we are, which I feel is invaluable because we have been identified as an area with a high obesity problem.”

Pupils had the opportunity to cook, grow and farm. The activity links to the curriculum and gets staff, pupils and parents working together. The school ran competitions to encourage children to design new school-meals, with the winning entries being added to our lunch menu. Many of the dishes on the menu include produce grown in the school garden.

“On Friday afternoons we have enrichment time, in which pupils choose activities ranging from cooking and growing and to sport, first aid and beauty therapy. We have food theme nights, where children set up the canteen like a restaurant and take bookings. We have a school shop, which sells goods and produce made or grown in school workshops. Every fortnight, we offer a roast dinner for people in the local community and in which we have a maximum of 40 guests each time. The children serve the guests, which is a great way for them to mix with the community.

“We see it as paramount importance that our pupils understand where their food comes from and how the choices they make in life can impact on their health and wellbeing. We provide a rich, enhanced curriculum in which food is at the forefront of everything including developing our pupils’ skills in farming and gardening.”

In 2015 the School became the first ever to win Lead Association for Catering in Education’s ‘School Food Achievement Award’, ‘presented to a primary or secondary school, who in the opinion of the judges, has strived to achieve the most significant improvements in food and education, taking a whole school approach’.


See for yourself

Keeping to the young people theme, this video from Soil Association focuses on improving healthy eating in schools and hospitals in Yorkshire. Activities include training for school cooks and hospital chefs, and working with school and hospital managers to improve standards.



If you missed it…

The background to Wellbeing 2 can be found here.

Our blog on physical activity can be found here.

Our blog on mental wellbeing can be found here.

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