Simrislundsskolan. Foto: Malin Thelin/Sveriges Radio
A canteen in a Swedish school. File photo: Malin Thelin/Swedish Radio

Pupils diss "weird" school meals

"They got rid of rice and meatballs"
2:12 min

Efforts to change Swedish school meals have backfired, with pupils in one school up in arms over the new menus.

Bulgur instead of rice, fish and pasta combos and no more meatballs. Those are some of the measures that have upset pupils at Stenbocksskolan, a school in the western Swedish town of Ulricehamn. They have decided to file an official complaint with the municipality.

Jonathan Wessbrod is in seventh grade at Stenbocksskolan. He tells Swedish Radio: "They got rid of the rice and the meatballs. Instead of rice, they're now serving bulgur. People aren't eating as much and they're throwing away more food. So that's not very good for the environment, either."

Wessbrod says he and his friends simply don't like bulgur - and they don't want to eat it. "We're here to learn so we should at least get good food," he says. And he has more complaints, too.

"Another thing is that they've come up with all sorts of weird combinations. Suddenly they started serving pasta and fish together. I mean, it's just not very good,” Wessbrod insists.

But officials at the city of Ulricehamn don’t quite agree. Anna-Lena Johansson, who is responsible for school meals, tells Swedish Radio that she has also heard positive reactions to the new dietary regime in local schools.

"We evaluate dishes on a daily basis," says Johansson, whose staff eat at municipality-run canteens every day to try the meals out. "We get rid of the dishes that don't work," she says, "but we keep serving the ones that do".

Johansson says she can't just listen to the unhappy pupils who don't like their school meals. Others are pleased with the new food regime and they have to be listened to as well.

But Wessbrod and his friends are taking their food protest a step further by sending a letter to a higher authority within the municipality.

The pupils are demanding better food combinations - so no more pasta and fish. And they want the council to bring back their favourite dishes. The pupils of Class 7D in Stenbocksskolan want their meatballs.

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