Inside the Menu: A Comprehensive Guide to Prison Food in the UK

Prison Info

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on prison food in the UK. You may be surprised at just how varied the food can be inside a prison. This guide will give you an overview of what you might find “Inside the Menu”.


The quality, variety and nutritional content of food served in UK prisons has been a topic of debate, and while it isn’t restaurant dining, it’s better than you might imagine. The national standardised menus aim to provide prisoners with a balanced diet.

Nutritional Standards

All prison menus in UK are nutritionally analyzed to ensure they meet the necessary standards.
The government’s recommended daily intake is closely followed. It specifies the quantity of nutrients that should be provided. Factors such as age, gender and level of physical activity are taken into account.

Dietary Requirements

Prisons are committed to catering for the various dietary needs of inmates, including for religious or ethical beliefs, medical reasons, or personal preference.

These tailor-made diets include vegetarian and vegan options, halal, and kosher diets, to name a few.


Inmates are typically served three meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let’s take a look at a typical day:

  1. Breakfast: A selection of cold breakfast items such as cereal or toast with a selection of spreads.
  2. Lunch: A sandwich or a hot meal, accompanied by a dessert or fruit.
  3. Dinner: A cooked meal, usually including meat or a vegetarian alternative, vegetables, and carbohydrates, followed by a dessert.

It’s important to note the menu varies from one prison to another and special dietary needs are catered for.

Availability of fresh fruit and vegetables

Providing fresh fruits and vegetables are important in maintaining a balanced diet and improve the general wellbeing of inmates. Certain restrictions apply to the type of fruits available due to security reasons.

Input from Prisoners

In some prisons, inmates are involved in preparing the meals under the supervision of trained kitchen staff. This provides them with useful skills and improves their employability once they are released. Responding to feedback from prisoners regarding the food is also part of the process.

The cost of Prison Food

The average daily spend on food and drink for each prisoner is relatively low. Despite this, the system aims to provide nutritionally balanced meals that meet the government’s guidelines.


A varied and balanced diet is essential to the wellbeing of prisoners. And while prison food may not win any culinary awards, it is designed to meet nutritional standards and cater to various dietary needs.

We hope our guide has given you some insight into the food served in UK prisons. For more information on the UK prison system, stay tuned to our website.

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