Getting started with Meals at School

Organising school meals

We have provided some examples below:

  • Hand out bread roll sandwiches in the classroom or place them on a table in the hall for self-service.
  • Parents/caregivers or volunteers at school can help with this.
  • You can also set up a contractual arrangement with a supplier that delivers bread roll sandwiches several times a week.
  • Offer a hot lunch, on set days during the week for example.
  • Parents/caregivers or volunteers at school can help with this.
  • Prepare the food together with the pupils and link this activity to lessons on healthy eating.
  • You can also purchase food from a supplier, such as a catering company.
  • Offer fruit and other snacks. o Hand out fruit in the classroom, which the pupils then all eat together.
  • Place a crate of fruit near the entrance so pupils can serve themselves when they arrive at school.
  • Offer snacks such as muesli bars, rice cakes or yoghurt in tubs to the pupils.
  • Collaborate with (local) businesses/supermarkets in the neighbourhood.
  • Approach your local grocery store or supermarket; they can help you with suggestions for buying and delivering the food and drink as conveniently as possible. By offering specific pre-packaged products, for example, and by agreeing convenient delivery times.
  • You should also consider working with wholesalers; they often have pre-packaged items with a long shelf life.
  • There are community centres and sheltered workshops that provide customer-specific breakfasts or lunches for schools.
  • Set up a (refrigerated) pantry at school for products with a long shelf life.
  • Pupils and parents/caregivers can take food from this pantry (anonymously).

Inspiration for a school meal

Tips for secondary education

We have some additional tips for secondary schools participating in the School Meals Programme:

  • Create a plan that allows all pupils to participate in a low-threshold manner, bearing in mind that they may feel ashamed.
  • Use resources that are already in place at your school, such as the school cafeteria. For example, you can start offering the bread roll sandwiches that pupils have been paying for until now without charging for them.
  • Establish contacts with local supermarkets, wholesalers or caterers.
  • You can also get the pupil council involved: pupils can also help with organisation.
  • Use the budget for one-time costs to purchase a refrigerated pantry to store food, for example.

Avoid increasing the teachers’ workload

Several options that minimise the loss of time available for education are open to you:

  • Purchase a freezer with your budget for one-time costs. You won’t have to buy as often or throw away food because you can keep it in the freezer for a longer period.
  • Ask volunteers to make sandwiches. The budget your school receives from the School Meals Programme may also be spent on volunteer reimbursements.
  • Have bread roll sandwiches delivered by a supplier. For example, ask about this at a catering company near your school. · You can also have breakfast or lunch provided by a community team or other neighbourhood-based volunteer initiatives. They can bring the food in or prepare it at the school.
  • Have local supermarkets or suppliers deliver bread and spreads, sliced meat, cheese and other fillings for sandwiches, fruit and drinks.
  • Set up a fruit bar in the hall where students can take fresh fruit as they enter.

InspiratieTips, examples and teaching activities

Do you need help deciding what to offer as the school meal?

The Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) provides information to help schools; for details go to the website. The resources [all information is in Dutch] provided there include:

Teaching activities and typical lunch menus

The Nutrition Centre lists several ideas for brief teaching activities related to school meals, which can be organised during meal breaks. Lunch menu suggestions for putting together a varied lunch are also available.

Healthy School programme

Do you want to embed a healthy lifestyle at your school? Then get started with the Healthy School programme: check out the website for more information.

Suppliers that may be able to help

Would you like to make arrangements with suppliers to have bread, spreads, sliced meat, cheese and other fillings for sandwiches, fruit and drinks delivered to your school? To inspire you, here is a list of suppliers that have indicated their interest in the School Meals Programme. You can also make arrangements with suppliers not listed here.

Are you a supplier and would you also like to be included in the inspiration list? Please send an email to [email protected].

Please note:

  • The Netherlands Red Cross, the Youth Education Fund and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have no influence over the selection of suppliers. Schools decide whether to work with suppliers and are responsible for choosing their supplier(s).
  • The suppliers on the list have been included because they have registered with the School Meals Programme. The School Meals Programme has verified that the suppliers are registered with the Chamber of Commerce, but has not assessed or verified the quality of the suppliers or the food and/or drinks offered by them. So check carefully to make sure that the offer meets the needs of your school.
  • Schools are individually responsible for the arrangements they make with suppliers. The School Meals Programme has no involvement in arrangements between schools and suppliers and is not liable in the event of disputes or misunderstandings between schools and suppliers.