Sugary puddings should be dropped from school lunch menus, according to the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
The faculty has revealed it made the call in its submission to a consultation by the Scottish government on the nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools. The consultation closed last month.
Puddings only provide excess free sugar, salt and fat, said the faculty, adding that children should instead be encouraged to increase their vegetable intake.
It stated the choice of ‘soup or pudding’ was common on menus and suggested this be changed for ‘soup or fresh fruit’ as either would provide at least one additional portion of fruit or vegetables.
“Children should have greater access to more fruit and vegetables as part of their school day, but increasing access does not necessarily increase consumption,” said faculty dean Professor Graham Ogden, adding that the Scottish government’s guidance should include an evidence-based plan to ensure young people consume larger amounts of healthier food during school meals.
The faculty’s submission called for action to ensure children had access to facilities in schools to brush their teeth after meals.
“Some primary schools already provide excellent facilities where pupils can brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste after eating school meals, and so we feel that this approach should be available more widely,” added Ogden.
The faculty also suggested ‘proper kitchens’ should be established in all schools and should favour local food producers to reduce consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods.