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Jamie’s school dinners shown to have improved academic results

The Guardian reports that Jamie Oliver’s healthy school dinners have significantly improved pupils’ test results and cut the number of days that they are off sick. Researchers looked at the performance of 11 year old pupils in English and science at schools in Greenwich, presenting their findings this week at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society.

Jamie Oliver replaced turkey twizzlers and chicken dinosaurs with creamy coconut fish and Mexican bean wraps in the South London schools, during a televised ‘Feed Me Better’ campaign five years ago. The researchers estimated that the proportion of students who got level 5 in science at key stage 2 increased by 6% and the percentage who got level 4 in their English Sats was up 4.5%. The number of authorised absences, which are generally due to illness, fell by 15% following the campaign.

Jamie Oliver is delighted with the results, reporting that ‘Even while doing the programme we could see the benefits to children’s health and teachers. We could see that asthmatic kids weren’t having to use the school inhalers so often, for example. We could see that it made them calmer and therefore able to learn.’

Why not help your child to maximise their full potential by ensuring their diet is as healthy as possible? Call Emma on 01273 775480 to make an appointment, or try Jamie’s recipe for Mexican bean wraps:

Cool Mexican bean wraps

serves 4
• vegetable oil or olive oil
• 1 onion, peeled and sliced
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
• a pinch of chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon tomato puree
• 480g tinned red kidney beans, drained and washed
• 150g tinned tomatoes
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ green pepper, sliced
• ½ red pepper, sliced
• 5 large flour tortillas
• 150g cheese, grated

In a little oil, gently fry the onion for 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli powder. Add the tomato puree, the drained kidney beans and the tins of tomatoes with their juice. Cook for 10 minutes until the juice has reduced then add salt to taste. This is your filling.

In a separate saucepan, fry the peppers in a little oil and set aside. Divide the filling mixture in half then blitz one half, using a hand blender, to form the bean paste.
Add the peppers to the other half of the filling.

Spread the tortillas with the warm bean paste. Then add a serving spoon of the filling and sprinkle with cheese (remember to omit the cheese for vegans). Roll up the tortillas and place on the greased baking tins. Cover with a lid and heat through in a preheated oven on 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for about 20 minutes.

Serve with a mixed leaf salad or a cucumber and mint salad. This recipe is from School Dinners.