Tips & Recipes

Here are some quick tips from the cooks in Södertälje municipal school restaurants:

  • Serve the salad buffet as "clean" as possible and serve dressing and spices alongside, guests can then mix their own salad. It also has a financial upside as you can use the excess in other dishes like soups, stews and vegetarian patties.
  • Make tasty toppings for your crispy baked fish of leftover crispy bread pieces, just mix down to breadcrumbs.
  • Always write the meat-free dish at the top of the menu, this shows what the kitchen recommends and encourages guest’s curiosity.
  • Always place the hot meat-free dish first on the buffet and serve in the same type of serving plate as the other dishes. This prompts the food guests to choose the green dish first, and we demonstrate in a natural way, that it is a matter of course to eat green.

Hen instead of chicken

Organic hen is a tasty, healthy and environmentally friendly meat. In modern egg production, laying hens are slaughtered when they are only a year and a half and a large part of the slaughtered hens has gone to mink food or simply incinerated, even though the flesh is a valuable resource that should not be allowed to be thrown away.  Millions of Swedish hens that have gone on the garbage dump every year.

Hen meat was used 40-50 years ago as a standard ingredient in Swedish home cooking. The hens simply were first laying eggs and then became meat – a good way to harness resources. The whole hen including bones, was cooked and gave both meat and a flavorful broth that formed the basis of lovely casseroles.

Chicken was rarely eaten, it was a luxury product gained, when you bred rooster chicks that for obvious reasons could not become laying hens. A laying hen flock of up to 40 hens only needed one rooster, so most of the young roosters were slaughtered as soon as they were about half a year old.

Poultry production has changed and become industrialized.  We have forgotten to eat hen and instead started consuming large amounts of chicken. Today's chickens are bred to grow fast and slaughtered at about 5-6 weeks old. Chickens are raised indoors and fed food that people would be able to eat, and organic chicken products are only available on a very small scale in Sweden.

At the municipality of Södertälje, we find it unacceptable how poultry meat is wasted, and we therefore aim to replace a percentage of the chicken products we buy with hen.

Swedish whole grain instead of rice

The climate emissions of rice production are considerably greater than that from whole grain cereals. This is due to the release of greenhouse gases from the waterlogged paddies. Some farmers grow their rice in dry paddies for short periods to reduce gas release, but it’s always better for the environment to regularly use Swedish whole grain products as an alternative to rice in schools - for example whole wheat, whole barley, naked oats and spelt. Whole grain cereal production cause less green house gas emissions and can be grown locally. Whole grain cereals are like rice in that they have a neutral taste and can be served in combination with most dishes.      

Whole grains cereals also have a better nutritional value and a higher fiber content than that of polished rice. Research has shown that whole grain cereals such as barley, acts as prebiotics i.e. stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut, helps regulate blood sugar, reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Whole grain cereals are also usually inexpensive to buy, and therefore there are many good arguments for replacing rice with more Swedish grown whole grain cereals.

In Södertälje, for the last couple of years we have been working to replace rice with Swedish cereal products. One activity we did was Barley is back! (Korn is back! in Swedish) campaign. Feel free to use the material to make your own campaign, at your school or in your municipality. Why not try this tasty recipe for tabbouleh with whole grain, today:
Tabbouleh with whole grain barley

[1] Livsmedelsverket, hämtat 2018-08-30


Swedish grey peas instead of chickpeas

When we started work on Diet for a Green Planet in Södertälje, we began to introduce more legumes to the food served in our schools. This was the best way to gain alternative protein sources. Legumes are rich in plant-based protein and served in combination with whole grain cereals become very nourishing, rich in important dietary fibre and with at high nutritional content.

Eating legumes is nothing new in Sweden, different kinds of peas were previously our most important source of protein. Today, legumes are in vogue again and both the National Food Administration and scientific reports like the EAT-Lancet recommend that we increase our intake of legumes markedly, both for our own health and because it is a resource-efficient way of producing protein.

In Södertälje, we first started experimenting with making dishes that are popular in Södertälje's schools – like hummus and falafel-with Swedish yellow peas. This went very well! Since then, the range of Swedish legumes has increased and now there are both Swedish grey peas, fava beans and lentils of different colors available.

Sara Jervfors

Head of project, MatLust & Head of Diet Units in Södertälje municipality and Gnesta municipality
Tel: +46 08 523 064 66

Helena Nordlund

Project manager, MatLust
Tel: + 46 08 523 071 23

Latest update: 22 April 2021
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