Plates full of vegetables.
Schools should be serving more fruit and veg, says the National Food Agency. Credit: Christine Olsson/TT

Agency advice: Less meat and more learning in school meals

4:01 min

School meals should be part of the learning experience, which means they should be more educational, as well as being healthier, says the national food agency.

"We already spend 6 billion kroner every year on school meals, so it is a huge part of the school budget," says Anna-Karin Quetel, a nutritionist at the national food agency.

Quetel has been responsible for developing new guidelines for school meals. It's been five years since the last guidelines were issued, and it is perhaps not surprising that there is a re-newed emphasis on fruit and veg, and a general advice to cut down on meat and sugar.

But part of the advice is also for the schools to integrate the school meals into the overall educational task of the school.

"By using the money in a different way, you can gain higher school attendance, better school results, because you learn better when you have food in your stomach," says Anna-Karin Quetel, who envisions history lessons where you try out food from a hundred years ago, geography lessons where the kids can get a taste of different food cultures in the canteen, and classes where meals are assessed from the perspective of sustainable development.

None of this is mandatory for the schools to follow.. the educational act merely says that the school meals should be nutricious and free of charge for children between 6 and 16. But Anna-Karin Quetel hopes that the guidelines from the national food agency will offer inspiration and support to the schools that want to try it out.

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