PLEASE forgive the pun, but the recipe for fixing food in schools - and helping children maintain healthy lifestyles - should not be complicated. As we report today, local authorities are now under growing pressure from campaigners to improve food in schools. The calls follow the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon of new targets to cut child obesity in Scotland by half come 2030.

The First Minister’s actions are to be commended - nearly 30 per cent of Scottish children are at risk of being overweight, and 14 per cent are obese. Calls by campaigners to improve the food served in schools are also to be welcomed. This nation will not be able to deal with childhood obesity, unless we tackle it in schools. If children are eating unhealthily at home, then the onus is on society to make sure that the young are at least well, and sensibly, fed while studying at school.

The fix is not that difficult. If you listen to what the campaigners are saying, their advice is not much different from the kind of wisdom we heard from our grandmothers and grandfathers - it’s about sensible, balanced eating. It’s not rocket science.

For example, Obesity Action says its time to further cut sugar in school puddings and cakes, and cut out the processed food like chicken nuggets. Children in Scotland says improve the quality of the fresh food - if the salad is wilting and vegetables overcooked then who can blame a pupil for opting for fast food?

Children should be encouraged to see eating as a social occasion, not simply a reason to wolf down food to get fuel for the afternoon, argues the National Parents Forum and others. Children should also be involved in planning and prepping meals.

Crucially, there are calls to bring back kitchens into all our schools. This would be a game-changer. Instead of pre-made lunches, schools could hire cooks to create tasty, fresh and healthy food for pupils. Children would benefit, and jobs would be created. So the problems we have with healthy eating and childhood obesity are far from insoluble. The actions needed to create change are relatively easy and inexpensive.

Scotland has not been behind the door in legislating in order to promote health - the smoking ban being just one case in point. We don’t need to pass laws to change the culture around food in schools, we just need our councils to let teachers know they can act. Teachers are smart and talented, if they are empowered they will make the changes we need to help our children live long, happy and healthy lives.