As of the second semester of the 2022-2023 academic year, free meals will be provided to all students in kindergarten and nursery classes as part of the free meal application.
“We made the necessary budget allocation to our schools”
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer stated that they have completed the preparations for the free meals, which they will gradually implement for 5 million students as of February 6.
In his statement, Özer emphasized that the Ministry of National Education continues to support students with social policies in order to increase students’ access to education;
“We have allocated the necessary budget to the relevant schools for the culinary needs of the kindergartens that will prepare meals in the school kitchen, and the schools and institutions that have a kindergarten. We will ensure that it is purchased and supplied.”
Sample menus have been prepared
In the Meal/Nutrition Preparation and Distribution Guide, nutrition service processes in schools were included in detail. These processes are “menu management”, “inspection processes (food safety and hygiene practices)”, “procurement and storage”, “production (preparation and cooking)”, “delivery of food / nutrition” and “after-service processes”. will consist of phases. The said guide was created with reference to the current legislation and studies of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
In order to meet the daily energy and nutrients adequately and in a balanced way, care will be taken to ensure that the foods that children should consume are of good quality and in sufficient quantities. Within the scope of nutrition services, menus will be planned in accordance with the principles of healthy nutrition, the nutritional content they will need will be met, as well as training will be provided to gain healthy eating habits.
Dietitian support for schools
While preparing the diet, attention will be paid to low salt consumption in accordance with the relevant programs of the Ministry of Health. No artificial sweeteners will be used in desserts.
The food and food groups that should be included in the menus for a healthy diet will be the milk and products group, the meat, egg, legumes and oilseeds group, the bread and cereals group, and the vegetables and fruits group, respectively.
The meals sent to the schools will be checked to see if they are suitable for the menu lists and weights determined weekly by the commission to be formed at the schools.
Sample menus in accordance with the principles of balanced nutrition were prepared for pre-school education institutions by the Ministry and sent to the provinces. The school, which will make its own menus, will receive dietitian support from provincial and district public health centers.
Breakfast will also be provided, menus will be published on the website.
On the other hand, the Ministry recommends using the lunch option in schools with regular education. In these schools, the breakfast menu can also be used in line with the decision to be taken with the families.
In the morning group of the schools that offer dual education, the breakfast menu or the lunch menu can be used by taking the opinions of the families and arranging the school’s feeding time according to the menu type.
It is recommended to use lunch menus in the afternoon groups of schools that offer dual education. According to the decision to be taken with the families, breakfast menus can also be used.
In addition, the weekly nutrition list, which will be prepared at schools with the support of a dietitian, will be published on the school’s website.
Commissions will be established
In each province and district, a commission consisting of at least one kindergarten principal, a school principal with a nursery class, and a school principal who produces nutrition, if any, will be established under the chairmanship of the deputy principal responsible for the basic education unit or the branch director. Guidance and supervision will be made by the Commission on the processes related to the program of providing a free meal at periodic intervals.
Permission will be obtained from the parents of the students who will buy food
During the planning, preparation and implementation of the process in schools, attention will be paid to cleanliness and hygiene. Permission documents will be obtained from the parents of the students who will be given free nutrition support. In the document, parents will declare in writing whether the student has any allergies or sensitivities related to nutrition.
In the determination of the food menus, the nutrition programs of the students with special conditions will be acted upon. The Ministry of National Education requested that all measures be taken by the governorships for the healthy and trouble-free execution of the program of providing a free meal. In the preparation and presentation of nutrition, the points specified in the Meal/Nutrition Preparation and Distribution Guide will be strictly followed.