Why Nutrition?

School nutrition facilitates a child’s ability to learn and supports their promise of reaching the full potential as adults. Less than 50% of children who start school in Grade 1 in South Africa make it through Grade 12. Poor education drives the high unemployment rate, which is between 40% and 70% for those who have not completed high school.

Hunger, poverty and lack of access to effective education means that millions of caregivers are unable to provide for their children’s healthy development and education. Around 12 million children in South Africa live below the poverty line, and 4.4 million households in South Africa do not have frequent, reliable access to food.

A guaranteed meal served at school incentivizes impoverished caregivers to send their children to school. It enables children to develop, grow and learn in a safe and stimulating environment, and prepares them to receive a formal education. When a child stays in school, their ability to generate future income and build a livelihood is increased. Through interactions with teachers, fellow-students and food preparers, the child also stays connected, cared for and involved.

See References

Where we work


of SA children under 6 live below the food poverty line


of the poorest children have no access to educare


of children in the poorest schools present as school unready in Grade One


of children who start Grade One never finish school

Nutritional Deficiencies

Malnutrition means more than stunting, wasting or being underweight. It can mean obesity and micronutrient (such as vitamin and mineral) deficiencies as well.

Increasingly we are seeing food high in sugars, processed carbohydrates and fats, but low in micro-nutrients, becoming more affordable and available. The consumption of these ‘globalised’ foods among the poor is resulting in overweight and obesity occurring alongside stunting. Micronutrient deficiencies can occur in children who are not necessarily hungry, but whose diets are of low nutrient quality, or which lack dietary diversity. This is often referred to as a ‘hidden hunger’ and can have serious impacts on education and health by reducing children’s learning ability, impairing development, and reducing immunity.

Our programme is designed to offer a school meal high in protein and fortified with micronutrients to combat all aspects of malnutrition.

What's for Breakfast?

Schools on our Breakfast Programme receive nutritional fortified Maize Porridge in in three delicious flavours: Vanilla, Wholewheat and Chocolate. Porridge is simply prepared using freshly boiled water.

What's for Lunch?

We provide a plant based pantry of nutritionally fortified foods that are delicious and familiar to the children. Ingredients are combined in a variety of ways to create a varied menu.

Baked Beans


Maize Meal

Peanut Butter


Rice & Lentils

Samp & Beans

Soya Mince


Sunflower Oil



Vitamilk & Vitadrink

Wholewheat Macaroni

Lunchbox Fund’s NutriBright Soya, Porridge, Maize Meal, VItaDrink and VitaMilk are fully fortified with vitamins and minerals. Peanut Butter is provided to schools that have access to fresh bread.

*Schools are required to add fresh seasonal, locally sourced vegetables to lunch meals at least three times per week.

Weekly Lunch Menu 2024


Rice & Lentils, Fresh Vegetables, VitaMilk


Mielie Meal, Soya Mince, Fresh Vegetables, VitaDrink


Biryani, Oil, Spices, Fresh Vegetables, VitaDrink


Wholewheat Pasta, Tomato Sauce, Soya Mince, VitaDrink
Samp & Beans, Soya Mince, Fresh Vegetables, VitaDrink


Porridge, VitaMilk
Mielie Meal, Baked Beans, Fresh Vegetables, VitaMilk

Our menu has been externally reviewed by the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.