The results of a survey conducted with primary schools in 2016 show that in Serbia, 825 schools provide children with at least one meal a day, but the number and type of meals varies. In almost half of the schools (47.15%) children are provided with only 1 meal a day (breakfast, snack or lunch) and it can be a cooked meal (e.g. beans, peas with meat, stew, etc.) with salad in fewer cases or more often dry meal, such as bread with jam, proja and different types of pastries.
In schools that don’t have a kitchen or kitchen staff, more than half of these meals are pastries and bread, and that’s all the children will eat at school in one day.
The results of the examination of the nutritional value of meals that we conducted with 6 primary schools (3 from Valjevo and 3 from Loznica) indicate not only that the nutritional value of dry meals is far less than that of cooked meals, but that the intake of fat, protein and carbohydrates of dry food is often lower than the recommended values prescribed by the Ministry of Education in Serbia.
Our measurements of food waste indicate that a higher percentage of cooked meals are thrown away (45%), but on the other hand, the total amount of food that children actually eat, i.e. take in, is higher when it comes to hot meals (187g), while these amounts are smaller for dry food , on average around 130g.
If we take into account that children do not eat almost a quarter of dry meals, according to our data about 24%, it is clear that the daily intake of food in schools that provide 1 dry meal is often insufficient, so students will buy food in local kiosks and shops, which is usually burger, pizza or some kind of pastry.