Samui Wining & Dining

SCL International School in Lamai puts parents’ minds at ease with its healthy eating program.


Whilst “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” used to cut it as a barometer for healthy eating, we now know that nutrition’s a lot more complex than that. The UK National Health Service’s 2012 health statistics, published by The Health and Social Care Information Centre, showed that around three in ten boys and girls aged two to 15 were classified as either overweight or obese (31% and 29% respectively). Those are unsettling figures to say the least. English celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, has taken huge steps to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating at school, aiming to abolish the staple fish and chips school dinners. His campaign, Jamie’s School Dinners, aired in 2005 on the UK’s Channel 4 and took the nation by storm. On it he highlighted the sorry state of school canteen food, and showed just how detrimental it was to children’s health.

It can be hard to implement a healthy eating program into your child’s life when they’re constantly being faced with fast food and processed meals. But it’s when they’re young that nutrition is most important, because growing bodies and minds need the best start they can get. And while parents can control what their child’s eating at home, when they’re at school it’s a different

story. It’s an increasing worry that what children are eating at school might not measure up to the high standards parents have set at home. But those parents whose children are at the SCL International School, in Lamai, don’t have to worry about that - SCL take children’s nutrition very seriously.

        The staff at SCL have started a very impressive new program to get children at the school eating healthily. Food timetables have been formulated to ensure that the children are getting the most out of their diet. And the menu changes every day, as well as seasonally, to cater for the freshest ingredients. School Manager, Emma Dyas explains that it’s not only important for the children to eat healthily now, but to educate them, so that they can make healthy choices in the future too. And the benefits can already be seen in the children, as they have increased energy levels and improved concentration.

          Brown rice, wholegrain bread and raw organic honey are just the start of the healthy offerings available on the school’s new food menu. A new ‘in’ and ‘out’ list has been compiled to outline clearly for parents which foods the school are incorporating and which they are excluding. ‘Out’ go white rice, plain noodles, white bread, white pasta, regular salt, sugar and regular salad dressing. While wonderfully tasty health foods like wholegrain and spinach pasta, Himalayan pink salt and home-made raw Caesar salad dressing are on the ‘in’ list.

          There are also great nutritious snacks for the children to enjoy throughout the day, such as fruit, vegetables served with dips, and fruit smoothies with wheat-grass. The snacks alternate dayto- day so that the children don’t get bored – the idea is to teach them that healthy food can be exciting, not to inundate them with carrot sticks on a daily basis. And the main courses on offer cover a wide variety of international cuisines, ranging from Thai massaman curry to Italian penne pasta.

          SCL’s lunch menu is given to all the parents and students at the beginning of each week. That way both the children and parents know what the children will be eating. And it doesn’t simply say things like, “Fruit”, instead it says, “A delicious selection of fresh sliced fruit.” The menu outlines the morning snack, main meal and afternoon snack the children will be having on each day. It also goes into detail about where in the meal you’ll find your veggies and “power foods”, i.e. carbohydrates. One of the “Where are my veggies?” listings reads, “Along with the carrots in our yummy soup, you will find broccoli, baby corn, carrots, kale, onions, mange tout and tomatoes in the vegetables in oyster sauce! Vege-licious!!!” – who wouldn’t want to try that!

          The professional nutritionists at Kamalaya, the nearby wellness sanctuary and holistic spa resort, recently trained SCL’s chefs. Famed for its inspired healthy cuisine, the resort’s nutritionists also helped the kitchen staff at SCL design a menu for the children that’s not only good for them, but incorporates food that tastes fantastic too. The children get the right ratios of carbohydrate to vegetable to protein to ensure slow release energy, long lasting fullness and optimum brain engagement.

          The decision to adopt this new healthy eating strategy is one in keeping with SCL’s existing ethos of nurturing the whole child, not just focusing on the academic side. And it’s that mind-set for which the school has become known.

          It’s exemplified in many other areas too, including the emphasis on community and a being family-oriented organisation. With a school like the SCL International School around, parents truly can have peace of mind that their child’s well-being is cared for.


 Christina Wylie


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