SCHOOL dinners in Kirklees have a new champion.
Howard Roberts, general secretary of Kirklees National Union of Teachers - the largest teaching union in the district - defended teachers and the school meals service.
He spoke out after national criticism of "unhealthy" meals served up to thousands of schoolchildren.
Ofsted and the Foods Standard Agency criticised school dinners and also packed lunches provided by parents.
But Mr Roberts said: "School dinner services have to meet consumer demand and are run like a business.
"Most schools try to offer choice with healthy options.
"The problem is, especially as children get older, that they do not want to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
"They will choose a plate of chips and gravy."
Because the dinner service had to offer a choice of dishes, it was open to exploitation by the unhealthy eaters.
And if the school did not provide the tasty food that children wanted, they would be off down the road to the local chip shop.
Mr Roberts pointed out that school meals were limited by cash and the amount parents were willing to pay.
And parents also undermined the healthy message in the classroom by providing lunchboxes filled with sugary drinks, crisps and chocolate.
"Schools are only part of the mix, although a very important part," he said.