Let’s face it; the vast majority of us probably wouldn’t rate school meals as the highlight of our youth. We suspect, however, that if MasterChef: The Professionals champion, Gary Maclean, rocked up to our school for a lesson on good grub, we’d definitely have discovered a newfound appreciation for school lunches.

So when the man himself was in attendance at Dalmarnock Primary School to share his skills for the Meals & More summer holiday club, it’s no wonder he gave children and parents alike some hearty food for thought.

Thanks to Brakes’ (the UK’s leading food wholesalers) charity program which will pledge £500,000 across five years, Meals & More is providing clubs to schools across the country during the holidays, already having grown from two clubs in 2016, to 26 in 2017. Dalmarnock Primary, as one of the schools facilitating the club, provides a nutritious meal to each attendee, helping to promote healthy eating for children and adults alike.

Working with families to improve their culinary knowledge, while enabling them to prepare simple, healthy and nutritious meals at home on a tight budget, Gary Maclean took the opportunity this week to get families involved in the kitchen, equipping them with the skills to prepare a simple lunch: carrot and coriander soup and shepherd’s pie. Attendees further took home a goody bag containing a recipe card plus ingredients to make for some foodie-themed homework.

Gary, a father of five, has been teaching part and full time at the City of Glasgow College for over 17 years. Commenting on the program, he said, “I have five children so I know preparing healthy meals can be a struggle, and expensive – but it doesn’t have to be. My goal here is to demonstrate that nutritious meals can be simple, affordable to make and delicious for all the family to enjoy.”

Meals & More is also driving a wider movement to alleviate UK holiday hunger and child food poverty, working to bring together MPs, charities, other food companies and businesses.

The Dalmarnock Primary School holiday club is part of the Food, Families, Futures Partnership, delivered by Children in Scotland (a national charity working for children, young people and families) in partnership with local groups. Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“We believe keeping more schools open, free of charge, during the holidays could play a key role in tackling Scotland’s inequality challenge and be at the forefront of measures to reduce the attainment gap. Plenty of socialising, stimulating group play and addressing the problem of ‘holiday hunger’ is key.”

She also highlighted the importance of these clubs helping quash the misconceptions about the expense of creating meals at home, stating:

‘We are guilty of wanting a ‘quick fix’ sometimes at dinner time, but freshly preparing meals at home are is more nutritious and often doesn’t cost any more than buying in.’

But of course, the real proof is in the pudding. Or the soup pot, as is the case. Why not have a bash yourself and rustle up this souper easy carrot and coriander soup? It’s only 102 calories per portion –  a belter of an excuse to have that second lunch.

Carrot and Coriander Soup recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 potato
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 1 vegetable stock
  • 1-teaspoon oil
  • 1 pint of water
  • Teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Handful of fresh coriander (optional)

Method

  1. Peel and slice the onion
  2. Wash, peel (optional) and chop the carrots into slices
  3. Wash, peel (optional) and dice the potato
  4. Crush the garlic cloves
  5. Add the oil to pan and heat over medium heat
  6. Add the onions and carrots and soften for 10 minutes
  7. Add the potatoes and crushed garlic and cook for further 2 minutes
  8. Add the ground coriander and mix well
  9. Add the stock cube and water and simmer for 10mins or until all vegetables are cooked.
  10. Liquidise with a hand blender for a creamy finish (add more water if it is too thick)
  11. Season with black pepper, add fresh coriander if using.
  12. Serve with Bread.
  13. Enjoy!

 

If you have a keen interest in, or working with, the children’s sector to consider joining Children in Scotland in membership to help influence policy, improve practice and lead on meaningful engagement with children, young people and families, find out how to get involved at www.childreninscotland.org.uk or make a donation on the Just Giving page.