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HUNDREDS of schools in East Lancashire will see an overhaul of menus in kitchens.

Every primary school is expected to benefit from a new set of standards for all food served to pupils, with parents to receive menus this autumn.

The Department for Education said new guidelines, which apply to all schools, are designed to make it easier for school cooks to create imaginative, flexible, and nutritious menus.

Although the previous standards, introduced between 2006 and 2009, did much to improve school food, they were complicated and expensive to enforce. Cooks had to use a computer program to analyse the nutritional content of every menu.

The new standards include one, or more, portions of vegetables, or salad, as an accompaniment every day, three different fruits, and three different vegetables each week, an emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates, and restricting the amount of added sugars, or honey in other drinks to five percent.

In trials with school cooks, 90per cent said the new menus were easier to imp-lement than the old standards.

Schools councillor for Lancashire County Council Matthew Tomlinson said: “We are planning to adopt the new standards in the autumn term menu. We had already received the draft standards, so we are well-prepared for this.

“They reflect our approach to school lunches – healthy, nutritionally-balanced, good-tasting and freshly-produced food, without too many fatty or sweet items.”

Secondary schools which took part in the trials reported an increase in the cons- umption of vegetables. Launching the scheme, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “We now have a clear and concise set of food standards which are easier for cooks to follow, and less expensive to enforce.”