Tips for meals, that do justice to miscellaneous food cultures

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Dining together connects people and can dismantle barriers. Food, that pleases various cultures is possible. We gathered some tips and hints.
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Whether interreligious, multicultural or regional – diversified arranged meal plans adresses also to people of other cultures. Here you can find hints that help to make diversified and healthy meals possible, that satisfies various food cultures.

Common factor: vegetarian

Vegetarian meals are a good common factor. Sometimes the waiver of meat is not enough. Many provisions include special procedures for the purchase, the storing or the preparing of food and meals. Often a spatial or temporal separation of procedures in the kitchen is demanded, to avoid mixing of differently prepared meals.

Get in contact with the parents

Religious dietary rules demand a higher effort when preparing meals. Therefore it is important, to start a conversation with the parents about their actual needs, and to clarify where a concession is possible and where not. If language barriers complicate this, a contacting with the respective religious community helps, to get to know the dietary rules or to clarify misunderstandings.

Searching for substitutes for ingredients

Often more can be implemented, than originally thought: For exmaple gelatine can easily be replaced by vegetable binders or instead of a clarified cream (so-called Bratcreme) with milk components rapeseed oil can be used. Latter is recommended for the nutrition of children and is often cheaper, too.

Marking in the meal plan

To prevent uncertainties, institutions should remember an appropriate marking in the meal plan. Often it is listed, whether the dish is vegetarian or not, but in many cases meat meals lack the hint about the animal species: A designation like „with sausage“ (in German: „Wursteinlage“) or „ground beef stir-fry (in German: „Hackfleischpfanne“) does not suffice.

In the best case a marking contains the exact listing of all ingredients. This benefits all children – independent of religion, culture, ethic attitude, allergies or diseases.

Help with financing the food

Depending on the parent`s status of acknowledgement there are different social benefits, that support the financing of the lunch in the kindergarten or school. The Education and participation package (Bildungs- und Teilhabepaket des Bundes – BuT) promotes children and teenagers, whose parents receive unemployment benefits, social welfare or benefits according to the Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz (AsylbLG).

The BuT bears the pro rata costs for the lunch and also takes part in the costs e.g. for excursions, class trips or learning support. Moreover, many federal states set up special programmes for families in precarious distresses, that do not have a claim for benefits of the BuT. The Network Unit for school catering (Vernetzungsstelle Schulverpflegung) in the individual federal states can provide information about that.

It is always worthwhile, to ask for the relevant funding programmes at the bearers of kindergartens respectively schools or at the network unit of the individual federal states.

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