SAINTS players are backing a new menu which is being rolled out in primary schools across the borough promoting a healthy, balanced diet.

The nutritious lunch menu, which includes new meals each week, as well as gluten free and vegan options, has been launched across St Helens.

The meals are provided from fresh locally sourced ingredients and are free from additives.

There is also still room for some treats as Fridays still have pizza and fish and chips as options.

Saints captain James Roby and the club’s women’s team player Jenny Welsby are among those supporting the campaign.

A spokesman for the Saints Community Development Foundation, said: “We believe that promoting healthy school meals is a fantastic idea.

“We want to show people in our local community just how important a healthy well-balanced meal is at lunchtime, ensuring children in St Helens get a healthy meal with all the vitamins and minerals they need to learn and be healthy within school.

“We are delighted to be a part of this initiative working so closely with our partners St Helens Council.”

Examples of one day’s lunch menu include: Pork Meatballs and gravy, cheesy pizza pastry whirls (v), jacket potato, 50;50 sweet potato mash, seasoned vegetables, iced lemon sponge.

Jane Ball, a 40-year-old mum-of-three from Sutton, welcomed the changes.

She said: “I try as much as possible to give the kids healthy varied meals and to see the school getting on board is great.

“Also I thought it was great to also see the Saints players getting involved, kids look up to sports personalities and having them on board is great.

“The menus have a lot of choice each day giving something for everyone, but I’m glad to see they haven’t totally taken off popular foods such as pizzas and desserts.”

Rachel Esmat, service manager for schools, depot and care services at St Helens Council, said parents and guardians can “rest assured knowing that their children are eating some of the freshest and most nutritional school dinners”.

She said: “We’ve always strived to serve nutritious school meals for our children and young people in the borough which are prepared by skilled, qualified staff using fresh ingredients.

“This led to us receiving the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life catering mark for serving meals that meet school food criteria, such as maintaining high standards of traceability, freshness and provenance, while ensuring that the fresh food we serve is free from controversial additives, and is better for animal welfare.”