Following on from the successful ‘celebrating culture through food’ theme in 2015, this year’s day has a focus on fresh and healthy local foods, and will bring together children and young people across the world to share their experiences, stories and news about food in their local communities.
The UK and USA began formally sharing examples of policy and practices in promoting healthy eating in schools in late 2010. With similar challenges and successes on both sides of the Atlantic, both wanted to find a way to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition amongst children and foster healthy eating habits both at home and at school – and so, International School Meals Day was born.
Since the first International School Meals Day in March 2013, schools across the world have celebrated each year, celebrating food and promoting healthy living through the education environment.
As one of the event’s supporters, Dr Yibo Wood, a nutrition expert in the US Government Department of Agriculture says, “A hungry or emotional child cannot develop physically, mentally or emotionally. Healthy eating habits provide the optimum mental and physical health for children and, once established, last a lifetime.”
The overall aims of International School Meals Day are to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of the nutritional quality of school meal programs worldwide
- Emphasise the connection between healthy eating, education and better learning
- Connect children around the world to foster healthy eating habits and promote well-being in schools
- Share success stories of school meal programs around the globe
- Highlight research activities in school meal programs around the globe
- Raise awareness of the hunger and poverty issues being addressed through school feeding programmes
There are lots of ways for schools and communities to get involved before, during and after the day including holding an event, creating some art, linking up with another school in a different country or spreading the word on social media