Spain makes plans for healthy and sustainable school meals concrete

by Lorraine Williamson
school meals

From the second semester of 2023, school meals will be healthier and more sustainable. Today, the Spanish government submitted a Royal Decree setting out the requirements for food and drink at school. All this to promote the Mediterranean diet. 

Food from the oven, steamed or grilled instead of the deep fryer. Also, 45% of the fruit and vegetables in school must be seasonal and sourced from local farmers. These are some of the important requirements the Spanish government is making for school meals from next year. The government has elaborated these measures in a Royal Decree to promote healthy and sustainable food at school. 

On Thursday, September 15, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs submitted the Royal Decree. Therefore, this means 15 days will start from today to object or make improvements. The ministry has drawn up the decree together with the regional authorities and sectors involved. 

Healthy and sustainable meals at school from mid-2023 

For the time being, these measures are planned to be offered in the second half of 2023 in the following;

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  • public and private kindergartens
  • primary education
  • secondary education (ESO)
  • pre-university education (Bachillerato)
  • secondary and higher vocational education (FP)
  • special education

Alberto Garzón of Consumer Affairs: “Pupils spend a lot of time at school and eat at least one large meal a day. It is then up to the government and the schools to set the right example in this regard.” The figures for overweight among children in Spain are still shocking and that is why the Spanish government presented a national strategic plan a few months ago, which includes this measure. 

Spanish government wants to promote Mediterranean diet 

The aim of the requirements for the new school meals is to promote the Mediterranean diet based on fresh, seasonal and local foods. Organically produced food is preferred. More attention is also being paid to special menus related to allergies, intolerances or foods that should not be eaten for cultural or religious reasons, said Minister Garzón of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. 

For example, less sugar and salt should be used for meals and less flavour enhancers and sauces may be used and offered. Tap water is also provided on the tables in canteens and schools are required to combat waste and food waste. 

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