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abstract

Due to its reach and scale, the school meal system offers a unique environment in which to foster sustainable dietary habits among all children and youth. The OPTIMAT-project was established at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm to develop and test a holistic model for creating nutritionally adequate, affordable, and culturally acceptable school meal plans with a reduced climate impact through linear programming. The project has resulted in several sub studies:

 

  • The importance of school lunches to the overall dietary intake of a representative sample of pupils in Sweden.
  • Optimizing school food supply: integrating environmental, health, economic, and cultural dimensions of diet sustainability with linear programming.
  • Sustainable and acceptable school meals through optimization analysis: an intervention study
  • Exploration of views of pupils and kitchen staff on the intervention, the role of food in environmental sustainability, and willingness to be part of a sustainable solution for the school meal sector.

The OPTIMAT-project could serve as a role model for public sector meals in general and for other countries as well as contribute to pushing both research and policy in the direction needed to safeguard both human and planetary health.

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