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The school buffet
The first lessons in the morning are over, and you are already getting hungry! Since children, unlike adults, cannot bridge longer periods between meals so well, several small meals spread over the day are particularly important for them - the morning snack from the school buffet can make an important contribution to this. As a popular meeting point, the school buffet provides a change from sitting and offers a good opportunity to stretch your legs.
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The ideal offer of the school buffet would be small snacks, snacks and drinks that make an important contribution to the supply of nutrients to the pupils and promote attention and concentration in class. Not every school buffet meets these requirements for health-promoting child and youth nutrition. Many buffets have far too much in their range of sweets, snacks, white flour products, fatty sausage products and sugary drinks. Health-promoting products such as fruit and vegetables, whole grain products and low-fat dairy products, which are part of a balanced diet, are pushed into the background. A sandwich with ham, cheese, cucumber, yogurt with fruit and muesli with fruit are suitable health-promoting alternatives.
Health in school
A health-promoting food and drink offer at school buffets should contain the most important components of a balanced diet and address the special needs of learning.
- Good thirst quenchers: Unsweetened or slightly sweetened drinks such as water, teas and highly diluted fruit juices are the best thirst quenchers. Sufficient fluids prevent tiredness and headaches. For more information, see Drinking Well at School.
- Grains, a source of carbohydrates: Grain products keep you feeling full for a long time and provide the body and brain with energy evenly. Bread, rolls, muesli and low-sugar pastries are suitable for snacks from the school buffet. Products with a high proportion of meal and grain contain more minerals, fiber and vitamins. White flour products should rather be the exception or be upgraded with a health-promoting topping such as nuts, seeds, vegetables.
- Colorful things for fruit and vegetable tigers: Fruit and vegetables are the ideal light snack in school - children and young people should also eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The vitamins and minerals it contains support performance in school. The healthier school buffet offers fresh vegetables and fruit as well as bread and rolls with vegetable filling and vegetarian snacks such as vegetable loaves. In many schools the “school fruit” makes an important contribution to the supply.
- Milchbart: Milk and milk products contain valuable ingredients such as calcium and protein. Buttermilk, yoghurt & Co. are light, wholesome snacks in school. Give preference to products with low fat and sugar content. In many schools, “school milk” makes an important contribution to the supply.
- Healthy bread and roll toppings: Spreads and other toppings should be as low in fat as possible. We do not recommend, for example, margarine spreads, fatty types of sausage such as salami, extra, square or Vienna sausage. The healthier school buffet offers low-fat curd cheese spreads with vegetables or low-fat ham.
- Snacking, but right: Of course, sweets cannot be missing at the school buffet - alternative sweets such as dried fruit, trail mix, fruit or muesli bars with or without sugar are in demand. These healthier sweets satisfy the desire for sweets - at the same time vitamins, minerals and fiber are filled up!
- Consideration for allergies & Co.: If there are several pupils with food allergies or intolerances at the school, the offer at the school buffet should ideally also provide something for them, such as milk, lactose or gluten-free products. Alternatives for lactose intolerance and milk protein allergy are products based on soy or grain.
- Religious and cultural backgrounds: The school buffet should also take into account the needs of children / adolescents with different religious or cultural backgrounds and offer products that do not come from pigs, for example.
- Ecological aspects: The school buffet is a role model and should take ecological aspects into account. When selecting regional and seasonal goods, preference should be given. Packaging waste should be reduced. For more information, see the seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar.
- Promotion of the eating culture: A visually appealing preparation of the food offer, e.g. by decoration, garnishing of rolls etc. and the provision of dining areas with seating, e.g. in the classes or common rooms, promotes the eating and nutritional culture.
Note If the snack can be eaten together in class in a pleasant atmosphere, the sense of community is promoted and an important contribution to health education is made.
Guideline school buffet
As part of the “Our school buffet” initiative, guidelines were drawn up to assist buffet operators in putting together what is on offer at the school buffet and in the drinks and snack machines. Overall, the range of school buffets should be based on nutritional recommendations, meet the physical needs of the schoolchildren in an age-appropriate manner, and promote health-promoting behavior. The Austrian food pyramid forms the basis here too.
You can find more information on the BMSGPK website under Our school buffet and Guideline school buffet.
Implementation of health-promoting school meals
If you, as a school management, responsible for school catering, buffet operator, etc. need advice or help with the implementation of health-promoting school catering, you can find more information under School: Advice & Help.