Supplemental food given to school students in poor rural areas should not just be intended to fill the stomach; it should also form part of a balanced and nutritious diet, the news portal Guangming Daily said in an editorial.
Recently an official from the Ministry of Education said that it provides food to 37 million rural students in 1,631 counties of 29 provinces and regions. Authorities have also allocated future funding in the billions of yuan to the meal program, part of China's efforts to stamp out extreme poverty.
The Guangming Daily commented these meals should aim to improve the diet of those that consume them - not just up intake of expensive ingredients like meat. Rural areas do not lack fresh vegetables and meat, and they are fresher than those in cities. Yet, public welfare organizations and charities do not make the most of these resources, and this is why the meals provided are not always nutritious enough. Meal providers should plan in accordance with different seasons and local agricultural products, the paper suggested.