Developing rations for Home Grown School Feeding

Developing rations for Home Grown School Feeding

This paper discusses how to set the goals for school meal rations based on educational and nutrition outcomes. The paper points that school feeding programs do not significantly improve the nutritional status of school children unless the staple food is fortified. Consequently, parents need to be educated to continue to feed the same amounts of food at home.

On the other hand, Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) will help to improve livelihoods of farmers and can, with careful planning by school officials and farmers, increase the diversity of foods offered to children as school feeding rations. In this sense, deciding on the types of crops, based on the nutrients they provide, will be an important factor in planning what is grown and served to children. Correspondingly, school officials will need to plan with farmers to ensure that nutritious foods are available in each season of the year.

Planning should also involve a decision about how much the child’s nutritional requirements can be met by a school breakfast or lunch. However, food composition information is one of the limitations of existing nutrition planning tools. Therefore, using a correction factor for the real availability of iron, zinc, and protein in rations that are plant-based would give realistic estimates of the impact of these rations on the nutritional status of children.