Tuesday, May 17

NIPH report: Offering simple hot school food is feasible

With the equipment secondary schools have available today, it is possible to make and offer simple hot dishes. But a fixed scheme requires new resources, according to FHI.

Oatmeal was among the dishes the students in FHI’s research project were served.

Researchers know National Institute of Public Health has investigated whether it is possible to make and offer a hot meal at Norwegian secondary schools using the equipment and infrastructure available today.

Nevertheless, they believe it is unrealistic to establish schemes with school meals without dedicated staff resources with competence and extra resources.

The concept that was tested was simple hot food that can be made in one pot. The food was tested at five secondary schools, where students were offered to eat a free hot meal over ten school days.

Not all students enjoyed the food

Researcher Elling Bere at the National Institute of Public Health says in a press release that the menus consisted of oatmeal, fish stew, carrot soup, vegetable soup and chili-sin-carne.

Most of the students were positive about being served hot food, but it was mixed how the dishes fell in taste.

– The students themselves expressed that they wanted free school food, but the dishes that were served did not quite appeal to everyone, says Bere.

From the schools themselves, there is a clear feedback that they will be dependent on a separate, qualified staff to be able to implement such a scheme.

A national survey to which the National Institute of Public Health refers shows that approximately every sixth upper secondary school in 2020 had some form of school meal scheme. 6 percent of schools offer free school meals every day.

Political debate

Free school food has in recent years been a hot potato in Norwegian politics. In 2019, the Labor Party had this as one of its major election campaign issues, and before the election in 2013, free school meals in primary school were one of SV’s election promises.

The Center Party has also advocated the introduction of a healthy school meal for pupils in primary and secondary school, and the government’s Hurdal platform states that the government will gradually introduce a daily healthy, simple school meal and daily physical activity in the school.


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