Balanced school lunch and smart snacks - project studies current practises of school meals and snacks and gives recommendations for future needs.


Balanced school lunch and smart snacks  -project studied current practices concerning snacks eaten and provided at comprehensive schools, good operating models for providing snacks, utilisation of the EU school distribution system, and school meals in the exceptional conditions caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

The research work produced a comprehensive description of the current state of school meals. No more than one in ten pupils have balanced school lunch every day. The practices related to providing snacks at school differ between municipalities and schools. This puts pupils in an unequal position depending on their city of residence.

Only one in four municipalities provide pupils with a free snack on school days that continue for more than three hours after lunch. In such cases, the most commonly provided snack includes a beverage and crispbread with a spread. Snacks provided at school clubs are the most likely to be nutritionally balanced. Other snacks subject to a fee can also include products that contain plenty of salt, fat and added sugar.

At the core of school meal development work are developing the food education provided at comprehensive schools, strengthening multidisciplinary co-operation and involving pupils. Eleven procedure proposals were created based on the research and divided between the national and the municipal level based on their scope. The greatest reforms concern legislation and resources. The provision of nutritionally balanced snacks must be taken into account in the Finnish model.

More information

Teija Rautiainen
Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu
research manager
p. 0400 872 759



Koulupäivän välipalat edistämään jaksamista [Balanced school lunch and smart snacks]

1 May 2020 – 30 April 2021

Project partners

Lead partner: University of Eastern Finland

Partners: Finnish institute for health and wellfare (THL), Ammattikeittiöosaajat ry (AMKO)

Focus areas: Sustainable wellbeing


Total budget: € 200 000

XAMK part of the total budget: € 42 250

Financiers and main source of funding: Valtioneuvoston kanslia