Cover image: International School Meals Day

International School Meals Day

Taking place on the second Thursday in March every year.

Celebrating food and promoting healthy eating at school.

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Updated 2 years ago

About the event

In order for young people to achieve and learn in school it is important that they develop a healthy eating habit. The idea of International School Meals Day emerged as a way to raise awareness of the importance in teaching children the value of food to education and culture, the importance of good nutrition and connecting children around the world to foster healthy eating habits in school and at home. The first International School Meals Day was celebrated in the UK and the USA in March 2013.

How to approach it

A love of food is practically universal and, as such, it offers one of the best ways for children to connect with other cultures. Students will no doubt be familiar with foreign foods and getting them to talk about them is a great starting point for initiating discussion on diversity and cultural difference. Food and food production is of fundamental political, social and economic importance. What food is produced, who gets to eat it, and how societies are structured around food production has a huge effect on society.

Students' excitement about food can be used to draw important connections to social issues both at home and abroad. Conversations can be had for example about food poverty in the UK, about Marcus Rashford’s campaigning and why feeding vulnerable children is so important. You could also talk about food and sustainability, about what foods we will have to eat more of in the future or what kind of sustainable farming systems we’ll have to use. Or you could discuss global food inequality, famine and what needs to be done to have an equitable global food system.

Here are some suggested activities to do for today:

  • have an International Menu Day
  • plann food tasting sessions or other fun food activities
  • try some cooking activities with an international theme
  • host a workshop on healthy eating
  • go on a trip to a farm/supermarket/restaurant.

Conversation starter

No one should go hungry at lunch time. This day celebrates the importance of providing school meals for children who cannot afford it. In 2021, Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford launched a campaign in the UK demanding that the government continue to give money for free school meals, even in the school holidays. What positive things might happen if everyone had access to free lunches every day?