FHI report: Offering simple hot school food is feasible

OatmealPhoto: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
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With the equipment that upper secondary schools have available today, it is possible to make and offer simple hot dishes. But a fixed scheme requires new resources, according to the FHI (Norwegian Institute of Public Health).

Researchers at the FHI have researched whether it is possible to make and offer a hot meal at Norwegian upper secondary schools using the equipment and infrastructure available today. However, 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 a free hot meal over ten school days.

Not all students enjoyed the food

Researcher Elling Bere at the FHI said 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 opinions about the dishes were mixed.

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

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

A national survey to which the FHI referred shows that approximately one in six upper secondary schools in 2020 had some form of school meal scheme. 6% of schools offered free school meals every day.

Political debate

In recent years, free food in schools has been a hot potato in Norwegian politics. In 2019, this was one of the Labor Party’s major election campaign issues, and before the election in 2013, free school meals in primary schools was one of the Socialist Left Party’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 schools.

Source : NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayEducation

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