Healthy Eating in Schools guidance 2020: supplementary information and advice on energy and key nutrients

This is supplementary guidance to the guidance book on Healthy Eating in Schools focusing upon providing information about the energy and key nutrients which form the basis for provision of school food and drink.


Why do we need it?

Everyone needs energy in the form of calories to function. We need it to get out of bed in the morning and to do all the things we do every day.

Children and young people need energy to grow and develop and to help them keep active.

We even use energy when we are sleeping.


There are three nutrients in food that supply us with energy – fat, carbohydrate and protein. Alcohol also provides us with energy.

When we eat foods containing these nutrients, they are broken down to release the energy we need to keep our bodies healthy.

We should get most of the energy that we need from foods containing carbohydrate such as bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and breakfast cereals.

Our bodies also get energy from foods containing fat.

Generally, protein is only used as a source of energy when the stores of carbohydrate and fat in the body are used up.

The amount of energy that a food contains is measured in units called kilocalories (calories) or kilojoules.

Fat contains a lot more calories than protein or carbohydrate. For example, potatoes deep fried in oil will provide more calories than a portion of boiled potatoes.

Additional information

If we eat more energy than our bodies need, it is stored as fat and we will put on weight.



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