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Pupils go for healthier options.

Byline: By ALED BLAKE Western Mail

Pupils at a school in Gwent are eating healthier meals at lunchtime thanks to the initiative of its catering manager Maria Stone took over responsibility for West Monmouth School in Pontypool menu 15 months ago when the school opted out of the contract catering system.

She decided the canteen should prepare its own school meals to improve the quality of food on offer.

To encourage pupils to eat more healthily Ms Stone began by introducing a salad bar and a milk bar to the canteen. However, her latest idea to provide a hot pasta meal in a take-away format has really appealed to the students.

She said, 'One of the difficulties introducing new food options to the school menu is making sure it appeals to the kids as well as being quick and easy to serve.

'The school has two canteens and even the small canteen has 150 meals a day to deliver. The self-serve system and take-away bar frees up crucial extra time needed to prepare meals from scratch.

'While it's a safe bet that most kids like pasta, it can be quite difficult to prepare large quantities and still maintain the just-cooked fresh taste.

'We have managed to source a supplier that provides good quality pasta sauces and pasta, along with a compact unit that makes it possible to serve a complete meal as soon as it's ready.

'The sauces are excellent quality and not only are they very tasty, which makes them popular with the kids, but they also provide a really balanced nutritional meal.

'With many pupils participating in extra curricular activities at lunchtime, they enjoy the flexibility of a take-away option and the new Pastabar offers just that.

'Our canteen sales have grown massively this academic year particularly with the introduction of the take-away pasta meal.

'I'm pleased to say our school meals are healthier and more popular than ever with the pupils.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 15, 2005
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