Food and meal policies and guidelines in kindergartens in Norway and China: a comparative analysis.

Ciren, B


The study compares how Norway and China organise food and meals in kindergartens. The goal is to shed light on differences and similarities, and to inspire reflection on culture-specific meal habits. The analysis looks at goals and requirements in both countries, with a focus on nutrition, pedagogy and socialisation during meals.

The research questions are:

  1. What are the main objectives and focal points mentioned in the documents with regard to food and meals?
  2. What are the nutritional requirements mentioned in the documents in Norway and China?
  3. What are the educational goals for food and meals in the two countries?
  4. What are the requirements for socialisation during meals in the two countries?


The results show that both countries recognise kindergarten as being important for children's health, but focus on different aspects. China emphasises nutrition and cooking, while Norway emphasises social aspects of meals and community building. Cultural differences and different philosophies influence these guidelines. The study suggests that both countries can learn from each other, for example by including sustainability in their guidelines and integrating sensory-based strategies into food education. A greater role is also proposed for kindergarten teachers in promoting healthy eating habits and social interaction among children in kindergarten.


The data material was collected from policy documents in both countries after a search for different combinations of the words 'food in kindergartens', 'meals in kindergartens', 'regulation' and 'guidelines', in both Norwegian and Chinese, on various websites from the governments and relevant ministries of both countries. Kindergarten legislation and curricula from both countries were also included in the analysis. The documents were analysed using thematic content analysis.


Ciren, B. (2021). "Food and meal policies and guidelines in kindergartens in Norway and China: a comparative analysis". European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 29(4):601-616.

Financed by

The Research Council of Norway, Norway