The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, implementing the Milan Charter, has run a pilot program overhauling the menus in Israeli Scouts’ summer camps before starting with schools in the fall; the content is healthier, and the kids are happy.

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality has begun in recent weeks a new program to change the dietary habits in the city’s school system. The program, based on the Milan Charter, is to take effect in nursery and elementary schools as soon as the upcoming scholastic year. As a preliminary step, the new menu was tested in Israeli Scouts camps, and it is already being called a success.

Last year, Tel Aviv-Jaffa signed the Milan Charter, intended to promote healthy eating, along with some 150 cities throughout the world, and in the upcoming year, the city’s residents should begin to feel its effects. The charter is an international initiative intended to improve the quality of food and thus improve residents’ quality of life.

The first stage of the project will involve nursery schools and will incrementally spread to all academic institutions in the city. Before the beginning of the academic year and to learn how best to proceed, the municipality decided to impose a new menu on the Scouts’ summer camps.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)


Meherata Baruch-Ron, the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa who holds the welfare and social services portfolio, said, “I have a child who just completed a Scouts camp, and I got a report every morning of what she ate. She told me that she ate tahini salad and cheeses and a whole wheat couscousā€”things that they didn’t used to serve in the Scouts.”

Baruch-Ron said that a recent study carried out by the municipality showed that the southern and eastern parts of the city have 40 percent higher obesity rates amongst children from first to seventh grades. “Rich people have a greater awareness about eating healthy and the ability to buy better quality food. In this way, we’ll make healthful food accessible to the whole city, and the process will begin in the school system.”

The program’s coordinator, Ruth Stossel, said that the project prevented the Scouts from eating junk food.

Chen Barzilai-Farjun, the leading coordinator for the Tel Aviv Scouts, said that the nutritional overhaul affected all 80,000 participants in the group within the city. “Our menu until recently included pastries, deep-frying, potato pancakes, and lots of chocolate,” she detailed.

“We decided to go with the nutritional changeā€¦ In the beginning, there was opposition from the cooking parents who were used to very certain menu, but in the end, everybody was really happy with the change because it was the right process. Suddenly in the camp, they started to cook rice, lentils, and legumes and drastically reduce the oil.”

The camps’ new menu for breakfast includes a variety of cheeses, eggs, vegetables, and tahini. Lunch includes falafel, cabbage salad, majadra, whole wheat couscous, chickpeas, and shakshuka. Dinner includes vegetable Bolognese, soups and vegetable schnitzel.

As reported by Ynetnews