International School Meals Day

school meals

International School Meals Day takes place on Thursday, 9 March. To raise awareness of good nutrition for all children at school and home despite their circumstances.

Did you Know?

Research conducted by The Food Foundation shows a double increase in food poverty in a year with 21.6% of UK households with children experienced food insecurity, a 10% increase from 2022. With the shocking increase in food poverty and food insecurity, there has been an increase in voters favoring free school meals provision expending and the support of extending the provision of free school meals to children whose families are recipient of universal credit.

Children in primary school from Reception to Year 2 receive free school meals each day. From Year 3 onwards, there is a means-tested provision of free school meals. The threshold to be eligible for free school meals is a combined income of £7,400 or less excluding benefits.

If you receive any benefits, check if these benefits are entitled to free school meals here.

Why is international school meals day important?

It raises awareness about healthy eating amongst children from every background and reinforces how children should have nutritious meals not just at school but also at home each day. The day encourages people to donate to charities that provide children who are less fortunate with food. You can also spend the day doing fun activities with your children such as cooking a healthy meal with a bunch of ingredients at home.

What you can do at home to ensure nutritious meals for your children and save:

  • Child-size portions – Avoid overfeeding your child by giving their meal in small servings and if they ask for more than continue based on your judgement. For younger children avoid using adult-sized plates as this may encourage them to eat an oversized portion.
  •  Eat healthy meals – Have set mealtimes for your child and check what is required for a balanced diet by using the Eatwell Guide or read about how to eat a balanced diet. Aim for your child to eat healthy foods such as whole-meal rice, bread, and pasta, lentils, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Avoid foods and drinks which are high in calories and low in nutrients such as fizzy drinks, sweets, and cakes.
  • Use a mix of canned, frozen, and fresh foods – Fresh veg does not last as long as canned or frozen food. In fact, frozen vegetables can be as nutritious and usually more affordable. You will also be saving more food as none of it will go to waste.
  • Stock dry ingredients – To avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket and unhealthy takeaways. Keep stock of dry ingredients such as rice, pasta, and lentils. Tinned fruit, tinned fish and tinned veg. Also consider stocking up on oil, long-lasting milk, salt, pepper, and spices. These versatile ingredients can help you create a healthy meal while avoiding further expenses.
  • Know the difference between ‘Use-by’ & ‘Best before’ – this can help reduce food waste. The ‘best before date’ refers to the quality of a product. Hence it is still safe to eat after this date, however, the texture and flavour might get affected. The ‘Use-by’ date refers to the safety of the product. Do not eat food that exceeds the date as it can be harmful.

What BDCU is doing for children:

Great school food culture improves children’s health and academic performance, and it is therefore in their interest to have as many children eating great school food as possible. BDCU is here to provide you with useful tips on how to ensure nutritious meals for your children and save.

We also have two flagship projects to help families on a budget.


This is a partnership project to reduce dependency on foodbanks and free food provision. It combines sustainable low-cost food markets with easy saving of £1 for each visit into the Credit Union. As a Credit Union member, you can save more into your Regular Shares account and apply for loans

Partnering with Inn Churches, this Bradford Council partly-funded project now has 16 outlets around Bradford offering low cost food to the community with members able to save into the Credit Union to build up their savings. Members have so far saved over £30,000 offering a unique way to save in the community.

For more information click here.


In 2021, Public Health funded a new project called UniformSavers where we offered 285 single parents the chance to save with us for their child’s uniform that included a £100 bonus – to boost savings paid in time for the new school year. After the great success of UniformSavers #1, we have launched UniformSavers #2 in partnership with Bradford Council Customer Service Centres with funding from the Household Support Fund. This will allow any single parents who missed out on the first round of £100 incentive the chance to take part in UniformSavers #2.

Find out more information on UniformSavers here