Swedish Language Blog

School lunches in Sweden Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in Living in Sweden

The fantastic, free and hot school lunches of Sweden. It is true that they are hot, free and most often healthy, since it is mainly “Husmanskost” (the Swedish whole food). But depending on who you ask the “fantastic” part is debatable.


Ever since the 70’s complaining about the school food has been “cool” amongst young people. Apart from giving you something to talk about during lunch, any time of day actually, it is sort of an ice-breaker. You always know where people stand, and so you basically can’t say anything wrong.


But the fact of the matter is, many if not all of the kids just don’t know how lucky they are. The lunches are warm, they kids do not have to pay, or clean the dishes, they are allowed to eat as much as they want, and the food is healthy. On top of that, if you are a vegetarian you get special vegetarian food. If you have allergies then they prepare food to fit those needs as well. If you can’t eat pork out of religious reasons you are treated just the same, all kids have the right to eat food at school.


When kids get to the high school stage some schools don’t have cafeterias, and so the schools have agreements with nearby restaurants or places like Subway (sandwich place). Other kids who have their school close to the university eat there. So no kids in the Swedish school system have to bring packed lunches to school. Except for on special day trips. This makes bringing a packed lunch extremely special, turning into a great cause for excitement for little kids.


The typical school lunch always consists of a salad bar, hard bread and butter and milk or water. Many schools even offer several dishes per day, if they know for example that one of the dishes is disliked by many students. Desserts are not served, as well as soft drinks etc. Many schools have a little café which is open during special hours of the day where you can by candy, soft drinks, fruit, snacks or sandwiches etc. to keep you going during the day.


Schools have even in recent years removed certain meals from the lunches because they are just too unhealthy, Pizza being one of them. No deep-fried food is served at all. The school kitchens have also tried to become as environmentally friendly as possible by trying to waste as little food as possible.


Another recent development is that many schools now offer vegetarian food to all students, so they can choose between meat or vegetarian alternatives.


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  1. Caroline G.:

    Aren’t they lucky! I loved some things, but “bruna bonor och flask” were just disgusting – always too dry and impossible to swallow. Still, in those days, one hundred percent better than English school dinners with custard, semolina and rice pudding. In my whole life, I never, ever want to be confronted with a milk pudding again – blancmange ugh, ugh.