School Lunch: What Do The Kids Eat?

school lunch ibaraki japan photo

Photo from Flickr

In many countries, schools serve a lunch meal to the children. This is an important source of nutritients and calories for many kids but due to budgetary restraints or lack of information (and/or imagination) the food is often bland or plain unhealthy. Some schools serve local, organic vegetables. I like how kids here in Japan (and Korea) have to learn how to take responsibility by serving their classmates. They take turns bringing the pots and dishing up the rice and other foods. Each classroom is a unit. There are no cafeterias or lunch halls. Hygiene is taught and a solemn Itadakimasu - a kind of greeting to the food, is said before eating. Below the fold, some photos of school lunches from other countries.

school lunch korea photo

Photo: Red Valley Times

South Korea: Rice, kimchi, salad, tofu stew, pork, yoghurt drink

school lunch japan photo

Photo: Red Valley Times

Japan: Rice, fish, vegetable soup (with seaweed), pickled cucumbers, milk

school lunch france photo

Photo: Healthy Schools Campaign


Salad of butter lettuce with smoked duck
Tomato and fresh mozzarella salad
Smoked salmon with asparagus and creme fraiche
Roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables and roasted potatoes
Apples with sabyon
Fresh strawberries
Goat cheese
French bread

school lunch sweden photo

Sweden: Rice, meatballs (pork, beef), raw carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers
Photo: parerkssson and Dagens Nyheter

school lunch america photo

Photo: Eat This, Not That For Kids (click link to enlarge)

A book recently published in the United States is helping parents re-think the school lunch box. David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health magazine, and Matt Goulding wrote the Eat This, Not That For Kids as a reference for parents. Chapter 5 covers eating at schools, which means the school cafeteria. Vending machines choices are also included because most schools (unfortunately) have them. In some parts of the U.S. there are great initiatives to provide organic, healthy school lunches, but we clearly have a long way to go. How about your area? Comments please!

More school lunch:
Study Finds USDA Child Nutrition Commodity Program Lacks Nutrition
Locally Grown Food in School Lunch Programs
Two Angry Moms Taking on School Lunch

Written by Martin Frid at

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