Free meals show taste

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Getting children to eat can be tricky. Getting them to eat the right food is an altogether bigger challenge.

Which is why we welcome the move to give free school meals to more than 46,000 pupils.

The Goverment is expanding the free scheme so every infant school pupil in the country receives a free lunch – after a commitment by Hallam MP Nick Clegg.

School meals should be an important part of pupils’ lives because they offer a balanced diet.

Gone are the days of stodgy food, today’s school meals are a guaranteed hot, nutritious meal a day and the link between well-fed children and improved learning is proven.

So the aim to get pupils sitting down to a healthy lunch with their classmates every day must be right.

It means good eating habits are learned young, which in turn should boost attainment.

And at a time when families are feeling the squeeze, the fact that this will be free is the right way forward.

It is a good use of public money and one which should benefit us all.

We are less certain about the benefits of eating bugs, as suggested by Sam Blakemore on today’s Diary page.

In her dissertation, she wrote that the supply of global human food isn’t sustainable and that one day mankind must learn to love munching on insects.

The prospect of a meal of worms, grasshoppers, weaver ants and beetles sounds less than appetising.

Nevertheless, Sam will try and convince us of the merits of her case at an event on Friday, which ends with attendees being invited to eat the creepy-crawlies.

It all sounds a bit I’m A Celebrity… for our taste, but there is a serious point to the debate.

We waste far too much food, while letting our children eat too much junk.

There has to be a better balance and a more sustainable diet is the answer.

If that means the state funding it through free school meals, so be it.

The state has a responsibility to our young and on this occasion is delivering.