National School Nutrition Programme

The NSNP aims to enhance the learning capacity of learners through the provision of a healthy meal at schools. Where it is implemented, the programme has shown to improve punctuality, regular school attendance, concentration and the general wellbeing of participating learners.

Whilst learners are being provided with nutritious meals, they are also taught to establish and maintain good eating and lifestyle habits for life. Nutrition Education also provides educators with resource materials to support curriculum and to make every school a healthy school.


Schools are also encouraged to establish food gardens from which they obtain fresh produce (vegetables/fruit) to supplement the menu in line with South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines. Learners, teachers & parents are provided with skills to grow their own food contributing towards long-term household food security. The gardens are also used as a teaching and learning resource and to beautify the environment.


NSNP Questions and Answers

What is the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP)?

It is the government programme that provides one nutritious meal to all learners in Primary and Secondary Schools.

Why Feeding at School?

Food provided at school is intended to give learners energy, to make them alert and receptive during lessons.

What are the objectives of the programme?

It is to provide nutritious meals to learners so as to improve their ability to learn. The programme also teaches learners and parents on ways of living a healthy lifestyle, and promoting development of school vegetable gardens.

Who benefits from the programme?

All learners in poorer Primary and Secondary Schools.

What does a school meal consist of?

Protein (Soya, Fish, Eggs, Milk, Sour milk, Beans and Lentils), Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, Carbohydrate/starch. A variety of protein is served per week. Soya should not be served more than twice a week. Fats/oil, salt and flavourants are added to make the meals tasty. Fresh vegetable or Fruit should be served daily.

What are the rules of the programme?

Learners receive food on all school days. Food is served by 10h00. Where a breakfast is served before the school starts, the main meal may be served later. Learners eat in a clean environment.

Who cooks the food?

Food is cooked by unemployed members of the community appointed by the School Governing Body.

How many cooks can the school select?

For every two hundred (200) learners, one Volunteer Food Handler is used (1:200). In schools where the number of learners is very low, The ratio is 1:125.

What should be done with the leftover food?

The leftover food can be given to the needy learners to eat at home.

How can parents and the community support the school nutrition programme?

Volunteer your service to establish and/or maintain a school food garden.Donate Kitchens. Protect the school’s resource Supply cooking, eating and garden equipment. Encourage your children to eat at school. Provide detergents, protective clothing and First Aid Kits. Report fraud-mismanagement of school funds and property. Attend school meetings and ask questions on how funds are used. Print important nutrition messages on pamphlets, posters or products sold.

Where can we Lodge a complaint about the NSNP?

First, make sure that the school management is aware. If no action is taken, report to the district office or call the Department toll free number 0800 20 29 33.

Can the child choose not to receive the food? Is it voluntary?

Food is offered to all learners. They are not forced to eat. Investigation should be made why learners do not eat and take actions to correct the problems that exist.

What must I do if my child is allergic to the food served by the school?

A parent or caregiver can indicate which food stuff the child is allergic to and, wherever possible, the school will attempt to provide to a learner.

Should schools have food gardens?

The schools are encouraged to grow a food garden so that the educators and learners can learn how to grow vegetables and fruit. Vegetables grown/produced from the school garden can add fresh and healthy food to the school meals. School gardens also beautify the school environment.

Why is it important to teach learners to wash hands before eating?

To prevent germs from spreading from hands to food and not to get sick.

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