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The French are Better Than Us (Again)

Is it just me or are there countless articles about how superior French parents are at raising children? American parents, in contrast, blow. French parents raise well-mannered children; we do not.  French parents raise independent children; we do not.  Heck, French mommas even have tighter post-delivery vaginas; we do… not.

Well, here’s another thing that the French are better at than Americans – school lunches. 

I absolutely had to pass on this New York Times blog post: Why French Parents Are Superior (In One Way), as well as this awesomely in-depth look at the French school lunch system: French School Lunch Menus. While American politicians are arguing over whether pizza sauce qualifies as vegetable, six million French schoolchildren sit down to a 30-minute, four-course lunch that consists of gourmet items like “cauliflower casserole, baked endive, beet salad and broccoli.”

It costs, on average, about $3 per French child to feed them such a meal – which is prepared on-site, not reheated in microwaves – only a quarter more than American school lunches. And for $3, the French government manages to serve up a great variety of healthy, real food that adults would happily eat, too. Food fried is a rarity (Ministry of Education regulations say fried foods may only be served a few times a month) and no flavored milk – the children drink water.

French children are taught to love food, that ‘good’ food tastes good, and to listen to hunger cues. The result? The French rate of childhood obesity is one of the lowest in the developed world; ours is the highest. As the New York Times article points out, “the current generation of American children will suffer far more health problems — and perhaps have a shorter life expectancy — than their parents. We may be teaching our kids to eat themselves into an early grave.”

For more information on American school lunches, check out Fed Up With Lunch.

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