45% of the menus in Spanish school cafeterias are “very unbalanced”, especially when food is prepared outside of schooland they don’t even meet the weekly consumption recommendations for half of the eight main food groups.
This is reflected in a study by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), collected by Europa Press, which has analyzed 622 different monthly menus sent by families from all over Spain, with school-age children in public (73%), subsidized (21%) or private (6%) schools. The menus studied, from the last year, correspond to the months between March and June 2023.
None of the 622 school menus analyzed meet the recommendations of the document agreed upon by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), the Ministry of Education and the ministries of Health and Education. Among the eight main food groups analyzed, an “excessive” presence of foods rich in carbohydrates and precooked is detected to the detriment of legumes, eggs and fruit.
The most common excess is the dishes carbohydrate base, such as rice, pasta or potatoes, due to the imbalance it generates compared to other basic foods, such as legumes, often below what is desirable. Legumes should be present on the school menu at least 1.5 times a week (6 times a month), according to the OCU.
Another “too much” food is pre-cooked, such as croquettes or dumplings, well received by schoolchildren, but with low nutritional quality and which replaces other “more interesting” protein foods, such as eggs or oily fish. The OCU demands that the presence of eggs be increased, at least once a week, and that of pre-cooked eggs be reduced, at most once every two weeks.