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CAIRO, Aug 6, 2018 (MENA) - Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli said on Monday that the National School Feeding Programme targets 11.2 million students and costs the government LE 972 million.

The school feeding programme is one of the main tools of social protection and a main pillar of the social safety net, the premier said during a meeting over the start of the school feeding programme for the new academic year.

Ministers of social solidarity, supply and internal trade, education, health and population and local development together with representatives of bodies concerned attended the meeting.

The programme is also a basic element in any effective educational system as good nutrition has a positive effect on schoolchildren's health, cognitive capacities and school attendance, Madbouli said.

Talks covered proposed nutritional components of the school meal and measures taken to guarantee its safety.

Spokesman for the cabinet Ashraf Sultan said the meeting tackled a scientific study conducted as regards the main elements needed in the meal to meet the nutritional needs of school children.

Last year, the government agreed to expand the programme to reach all government-run schools nationwide in a bid to ease financial burdens on needy families, alleviate poverty, bring down school dropping rate and improve students' nutrition. The World Food Programme has been supporting the programme since 1968.

What to eat at exam time?

By Amina Abdul Salam

Tension and anxiety increase at exam time, so what kind of food should students eat to help them concentrate more and be less anxious? Dr Sobhi Eid, Nutrition and Obesity Consultant, said that at exam time students need to eat balanced meals which include proteins, vitamins and minerals, in addition to fresh salad, with leafy green vegetables.

Dr Eid urges students to drink lemon juice to which they should add a tablespoon of honey, before Iftar. Their meal should be rich in protein to provide them with the energy they need for studying. They should avoid fatty and sugary foods, including chocolate.

He said that meals should consist of, for example, two tablespoons of rice and a chicken quarter or a piece of meat and green salad.

He added, “One hour after eating the main meal, students should eat a piece of fruit and drink a cup of warm milk, before going to bed and this will help them get the full benefit of the hours they spend asleep.”

Dinner should be eaten two hours before going to sleep and should be light, consisting of, for example, a cup of yoghurt and half a loaf of (balady or pitta) bread, a piece of cheese and fruit, Dr Eid added.