Science - March 17, 2016

‘Warm school lunch is a good idea’

Rob Ramaker

Warm school lunches for all Dutch schools: nutrition scientist Frans Kok thinks that it is a good idea, but that the realisation will be a real challenge.

Photo: USDA

Dutch schools need to introduce warm school lunches, says Alexander Rinnooy, member of parliament on behalf of D66. He said this last Friday during a symposium about the ‘taste lessons’ in Wageningen. The plan needs to make sure that more children than the current 1 percent (!) eat the required amount of vegetables. ‘It is quite a good idea’, says Frans Kok, professor human nutrition at Wageningen University. ‘Now you see that many children are given a really bad lunch or no lunch at all.’

You say ‘quite’.  What are your concerns?

‘The only problem is, how are you going to realize it? Aside from the financial side I foresee a huge logistic challenge to arrange warm meals for hundreds of children per school. Moreover, you want a healthy warm lunch. Personally, I would first set up experiments for several schools.’

You could also choose for a salad, with nuts or legumes. So more to supplement the bread.
Frans Kok, professor human nutrition.

Does such a second warm meal not cause children to eat too many calories?

‘That is a potential pitfall. But in Germany and Belgium it is perfectly normal to have a second warm meal and there you don’t see people overeating.

‘Moreover, I also wonder if it really needs to be a complete meal, you could also choose for a salad, with nuts or legumes. So more to supplement the bread. If necessary you choose for an even easier option, in the morning and afternoon a vegetable or fruit snack. This can also be  social moment where you teach children to take the time to enjoy the meal.’

You refer to our neighbouring countries. Does this plan fit the Dutch culture?

‘That is a good question. I do not know the exact historical development, but also in the Netherlands it used to be normal to eat a warm meal during lunch. In 30-40 years this slowly shifted to a warm evening meal. I think that change is possible. It is also not in our culture to absolutely not eat a warm lunch.’

resource_wageningenur_nl_forum_reactions_wrapper for object 43 of type wm_language nl_gx_webmanager_cms_core_implementation_languageimpl 2

  • Els

    Leuke gedachte, maar voor dat portie groente hoef je het niet te doen. Hier in Engeland gaat dat in de 'foodbin'. Het is veel belangrijker om ouders en kinderen te overtuigen van het belang van gezond eten. Zoals ik vaak uitleg: om een lego-huis te bouwen heb je veel verschillende soorten blokjes nodig en zo heeft je lichaam ook veel verschillende 'blokjes;' nodig.

  • gezond?

    Is het gezond als kinderen twee keer per dag warm eten? Of moeten ze 's avonds bij de gezamenlijke warme maaltijd van het gezin op een boterham kauwen omdat ze 's middags al een warme magnetronhap hebben gehad?