Tuesday, April 19, 2011

School Lunches From Around the World

Ever wonder what children are eating for lunch across the world? Take a look at these 22 very different school lunches and learn some fascinating insights into kids’ school lives across the globe.


Burger and chips! There is a group of retired military officers stating that today’s school lunches are making the kids so fat that many are unable to meet the military’s physical fitness standards.

The good news is that the Improving Nutrition for American’s Children Act was recently passed, whose aim is to make school lunches more nutritional, encourage partnerships with local farms, raise the reimbursement rate for schools and force schools to set standards for vending machine food.


In Japan, 99% of elementary school students and 82% of junior-high students eat kyūshoku (school lunch).

An English teacher in Kochi, Japan says a typical lunch “consists of a glass bottle of milk, a bowl of rice, usually some type of fish, a pickled salad, some kind of soup usually with tofu and vegetables, and a piece of fruit.”


In Beijing, school lunches are typically provided by the school, who orders them through food companies supervised by the local education authority. In other parts of China, children go home for lunch which provides some important family time.


Nutrition is an important topic in Korea, as it should be. In fact, they’ve banned junk food advertisements aimed at kids, a step that would go a long way here in North America.

Pictured above is kimchi, rice, tofu, and soybean sprouts.


In India, school lunches are often provided from home. Ever the entrepreneurs, a food service worker called a dabbawalla has arisen to provide a service whereby they pick up the fresh meal from home and deliver it to school. The empty containers are picked up once lunch is over.

A typical lunch might be roti, (flat bread) a dal, and a vegetable or meat curry.


A typical school lunch in France would be considered a gourmet meal in North America.

From a real lunch menu: cucumbers with garlic and fine herbs; Basque chicken thigh with herbs; red and green bell peppers and olive oil; couscous; organic yogurt; apple.

As stated at School Lunch Talk, the “mid-day meal is supposed to teach students good manners, good taste and the elements of good nutrition.”


Childrens’ diets in Taiwan have come under scrutiny, with reports stating that the consumption of the recommended portions of vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods is on the decline, while consumption of unhealthy snacks and fast foods is on the rise.

The USDA found that students were leaving food on their tray, resulting in them receiving less than half of the recommended vegetable and fruit serving.


Potatoes, cabbage, beans, cracker, Lingon Berry juice.

Czech Republic


Italy has a law that enforces schools (as well as hospitals and other pubic institutions) to use organic and local products.

By 2003, 70% of Italian schools were using organic ingredients. Not only are the children eating healthier, but they are also learning how to eat healthy and sustainably.









Lechón kawali, liver sauce, rice.


Potatoes and meat.


Rice, Beans, Bread, Meat with vegetables, banana and alface, acelga salad.


Rice and beans in sauce or curry.


Stumble This Fav This With Technorati Add To Del.icio.us Digg This Add To Reddit Add To Facebook


Anonymous said...

Mmm the Singaporean lunch is rather misleading we usually don't get them on trays we get plates/bowls of whatever we buy the standard kinds are usually found at international schools but normal government, government-aided or independent schools have canteens with many stalls.

Anonymous said...

Omfg. Japan's school lunch looks so good. :9.

Anonymous said...

I'm an English teacher in Modena, Italy. I can tell you that in the 4 years that I've been in the school system (kindergartens, elementary, and middle school), ALL school lunches are provided by a company called CIR, and are delivered to schools just before lunch. I've not seen a school cook its own food since I left Oregon. There are lots of great fruits and vegetable dishes, but kids don't eat them and wait for their parents or grandparents to come and get them and take them home for bread with nutella.