More vegetarian options and sustainable meals recommended for schools

The new guidelines explain how vocational colleges and upper secondary schools can give students more choices at lunch which highlight healthy, sustainable choices.

File picture of healthy vegetarian food / Credit: iStock

High schools and vocational colleges have received guidelines for the first time on how to make their student lunches more healthy, more sustainable, and with less waste.

The guidance was issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL in partnership with the National Agency for Education and advises schools and colleges to put more vegetarian options on the menus and consider the environmental impact of food choices.

Guidelines covering elementary schools and  secondary schools have been issued previously, but this is the first time the guidance was extended to include upper secondary schools and vocational colleges as well.

Although many schools have already improved their vegetarian choices at lunch, there’s still room for improvement and that’s where the new guidelines come in.

“Today’s solutions will have an impact for the future” says Marjaana Manninen at the Finnish National Agency for Education.

“Food choices are the key for sustainable living and environmental well-being. Social responsibility is about making sustainable choices easy and possible for the individuals” she says.

According to the guidelines one of the aims is to also educate students to help them make more healthy and sustainable food options.

“The role of food service is more than just providing nutritious and tasty meals. It’s about making it easier to choose healthier and more sustainable alternatives – like talking about the importance of regular eating” says Arja Lyytikäinen, Secretary General of the National Nutrition Council.