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Healthy living and school meals

7 May 2019

Studying hard and growing fast means children can often be hungry, so it’s very important they eat regular nutritious meals. Snacks like chocolate and crisps not only fail to keep hunger away, they may also lead to unhealthy eating habits which can be difficult to undo.

If you a parent or a pupil who wants to know more about healthy eating or free school meals, you can find plenty of useful information on this page.


School meals and healthy eating

If you are worried about your child’s weight and what they eat, the first thing to do is check their Body Mass Index (BMI). The NHS site provides a BMI calculator which is easy to use. This calculator will tell you if, for their age, height and weight, your child is underweight, just right or overweight.

If your child is underweight, this could be because they are growing fast and using lots of energy. If they are seriously underweight and you suspect he or she might have an eating disorder, you need to seek professional advice from your doctor.

The NHS site provides lots of information on family health and exercise, along with activities for children to help teach them about good diet.

Essex Outdoors has information about local events, clubs and societies where you and your child can get fit, have fun and make new friends.

Making a change in your own and your family’s eating habits is not easy but help is available on the Change 4 Life website.

Free school meals 

School Pupil Premium Funding

Did you know that schools can receive significant additional funding for every child that resides in a low income household?

Schools may therefore contact you for details including your name, national insurance number or asylum seeker reference number and date of birth. We would encourage you to co-operate with schools and offer them your details where requested in order for Essex County Council to inform them whether they qualify for additional funding.

It is important to note that no other parents or pupils will know you have been assessed and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming. This is purely for additional school funding to support children.


If you’re worried about your weight or get called names because of your size or body shape then now is the time to do something about it.

To start, you need to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). This will use four things to tell you if you are underweight, overweight or just right. You need your:

  • height

  • sex

  • weight

  • age  

This calculator will tell you your BMI, you can use it to find out how much weight you need to gain or lose to reach a healthy balance.

If your BMI says you are underweight but you think you are fat you might be suffering from an eating disorder. If you are, you need to try to regain some weight or you risk becoming seriously ill. It will help you if you can talk to a friend or your parents about your feelings towards food. Your doctor can also help, or you could talk to Childline on 0800 1111.

If your BMI says you are overweight you need to cut down on the bad things you eat and increase the good things. You may also need to take more exercise. You can identify what food is good and what is bad on the Great Grub site. Once you know what you should be eating, encourage your parents to provide healthy meals and get the whole family eating well.