School Lunch Menus from Around the World

school lunch, childhood obesity

Lunchtime! In the Czech Republic, school lunch looks a little more delicious than in the U.S.

American school lunches are kind of notorious. They’re usually not just unhealthy, but ugly, inedible and largely wasted.

There’s no shortage of ideas for fixing the nation’s school cafeterias. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has come over from the U.K. to try to do it. His efforts, unfortunately, haven’t been the revolution he hoped for.

There’s plenty wrong with American school lunches on the whole, and not just what kids eat but the entire lunchroom experience. And also when school kids sit down for a mid-day meal. But from the standpoint of food, what’s the alternative. What are kids eating in other parts of the world?

Buzzfeed has a pulled together photos of school lunches from the U.S., U.K., Japan, France, Singapore, Korea, Ghana and a few other countries. And one guy has started a blog What’s for School Lunch, a fascinating peek at what kids are eating around the world just after math class. These may or may not be representative of most school lunches in those countries. It’s interesting to see what and how the school cafeteria food is served.

I think what also could tell a story would be the trash cans in the cafeteria. American schools often complain of the amount of food that gets thrown out. Is there less tossed away in, say, France, than in Ghana, where far less food is served. That enormous plate of pommes frites, while accompanied by mussels and an artichoke, adds up to a ton of food. Does it all get eaten? Should it?

I worked in a Japanese school for two years and, let me tell you, that plate of curry and potato salad (the last in the Japan list)? Hands down, the most delicious school lunch I have ever eaten. But talk about front-loading the day’s calories.

Still, comparing the curry or plate of French fries or even the bland little U.K. lunch to the pics representing U.S. school lunches is just sad where nothing at all on the trays is fresh.

Which lunches look the best in your opinion? Do you like attempts to change U.S. school lunches or is it too little, too late for your home-lunch eating kids?

school lunch, child nutrition

What's on the menu at the German school in Shanghai.

Photos via here and here.

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