Teaching children about sustainable and healthy nutrition is a leap towards brighter future

Learn about one of a kind world leading health promotion programs: Finnish school meal system

Develop and launch healthy and sustainable school meal system in your country or organization with programs offered by JAMK

Finland – world leader in nutritional expertise

Finland has been offering free food to pupils since the 1920s. However, the meal was only offered for the most economically disadvantaged pupils. In 1948 a law for free-of-charge school meal for every pupil became effective. From thereon Finnish school meal system has been improved upon with new legislations and National Nutrition Council. Now, for over 70 years, every Finnish child is entitled to a free, healthy and comprehensive daily school meal in both primary and secondary school.

Health and well-being through qualitative food education

School meal system in Finland is integrated to education plan. During comprehensive school children will learn basics about the Finnish food culture and food education as well as basics in healthy nutrition. The school meal is the only warm meal of the day for some pupils, and it should cover one third of the nutritional needs of the pupil. Every school makes an action plan for food education individually taking health, nutrition and behavioral education into account.

The free school lunches, as well as lessons in home economics, encourage children to follow a balanced diet. The knowledge on food gained as a child helps one to make wholesome nutritional decisions later in life.

It all starts from the kindergarten

It is municipalities responsibility to offer school meal in thein region, but they have vast amount of independence in arranging school feeding. Objective is however always to arrange structured and supervised mealtime lasting minimum of 30 minutes. Children are used to eat municipal provided food during the day. In kindergarten, the same system and legislations apply, but the meals are included in the day-care fee. During 12 years of comprehensive and upper secondary or vocational school the meal is free every school day. In higher education, students get substantial meal subsidy. When in work life, many people use workplace canteens maintaining the same healthy eating habits learnt as a child.

The way Finland has structured school meal is unique success story, which have affected both health and academic success of Finnish people for decades. There are many policies, councils and institutions affecting school meal. The web of cooperation of experts behind pupil taking the meal tray in their hand is unmatched.

The Impact

Finland provides a positive example of the benefits of the school meal system: developing from a poor post World War II country into a welfare society with its highly ranking global results and esteemed education system. School feeding programs generate a lasting impact that can shape the future of a nation.

Two-day programme for the school meal system developers

JAMK offers a two-day intensive programme for the developers of the school meal system. The aim of the programme is to familiarize the participants with Finnish school meal system and learn to build healthy and sustainable school meal system promoting children’s health.

How to launch school meal system into your country?

After completing the intensive programme you have a possibility to continue with our three-week consulting programme, during which you can develop the concept for school meal system in your organisation or in your country. Please, ask for an offer for this tailor-made programme.

About us

Every Finnish child is entitled to a free daily school meal in both primary and secondary schools. Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals, and it is a world leader in nutritional expertise.

JAMK University of Applied Sciences offers training and consulting for school meal developers. Are you interested in developing school meal system in your country or in your organization?

Our experts at your service

Karoliina Väisänen, expertise areas: sustainable gastronomy, sensory evaluation, nutrition, food chemistry and microbiology.

Lehtori, Senior Lecturer

Matkailu ja palvelut sekä YAMK, Tourism and Service Business and Master´s Degrees

Liiketoiminta, School of Business