Sodexo has held two symposia for experts to discuss “building resilience through exercise and nutrition”.
Independents by Sodexo brought together industry experts to discuss the issue and share best practice and initiatives at two symposia focusing on the health and wellbeing of young people.
In Scotland at the Edinburgh Academy experts Robert Nesbitt from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and physiotherapist Stephen Martin focused on mental health being part of a whole school ethos. Discussions were had on the importance of openness of the subject within schools and the role physical exercise plays in overall student wellness and its appropriateness as an outlet for stress.
Then at Reed’s School in Cobham, Michael Hill from charity Rackets Cubed, focused on the area of social impact and mobility.
Hill said: “Food is such an important part of the work we do with these students. Being able to provide them with a hot, nutritious meal is one of the things that make the programme so successful.
“Once a term we ask a chef to come and talk to the student about the food they are eating and how it fuels the body. Children are socially conditioned by 8 years old so this programme helps to reinforce a positive attitude towards food, exercise and education.”
Ben Haining, sports and conditioning coach at Reed’s School added: “Young people have got a lot to deal with, from the challenges of academia to pressures from social media, and often feelings of fatigue and self-doubt. We focus on getting the training right, getting the mind right and being positive role models for the students.
“Focusing on self-awareness, the physical effects of poor habits and helping them develop a positive mental approach helps build their resilience. Getting their nutrition right is a key part of helping students develop their physical competence. Our relationship with the Sodexo catering team is fundamental to this to ensure the students have healthy meal options that they want to eat.”
Jeremy Alderton, managing director for Independents by Sodexo, said: “Understanding our consumer is crucial in the development of our menus; we know that young people want variety but they also want food that has integrity. We pride ourselves on the provenance of our food and our commitment to sustainable sourcing.
“Our chefs are continuously developing food choices that reflect the latest food trends, and for this digitally-savvy customer base we also recognise the need for technology which informs and engages students in the nutrition and provenance of their meals.”
Independents by Sodexo plan to continue the discussions on improving the health and wellbeing of young people. The next symposium will again be hosted by the Edinburgh Academy later this year in conjunction with Scottish Council for Independent Schools, and further events are being planned in England and Ireland.