Here's What School Lunches Look Like in Different Countries Around the World
PB&J getting stale? Can't face another chicky nugg? See what kids eat for school lunch in Brazil, France, Greece, Ethiopia, and beyond!
Maria Bailey · 3 months ago
The return of school means the return of school lunches, and depending on where you are in the world, they can look very different. But there’s one thing all kids agree on: lunchtime is one of the best, and most important, parts of the day! To celebrate Operation Classroom Comeback (and the return of the school cafeteria), check out what other kids are eating for lunch in all corners of the globe.
Japan always seems to come out on top when it comes to eating a healthy, balanced diet, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that Japanese school lunches are nutritious and super delicious, too! In Japan, school lunch often comes with a main dish, rice, and a bowl of soup, most commonly miso soup. A traditional Japanese diet is rich in protein, so meals are often centered around some sort of meat or fish. Even their eating utensils are linked with better health — research suggests chopsticks lower your glycemic index, thanks to the way they make you eat.
Injera bread is the base and staple of any Ethiopian meal: It’s a spongy, sour flatbread that also serves as a way to scoop up the delicious sauces and dishes that are served directly on top. Not all schools in Ethiopia have school lunch programs, but incredible organizations like this one are ensuring a growing number of kids can enjoy their country’s national dish at lunchtime.
Pork and beans with rice is a quintessential Brazilian dish, and a typical school lunch thanks to Brazil’s school feeding program. Brazil’s constitution requires that 30% of the ingredients in school lunches are sourced from local family farms distributed to around 42 million kids across the country.
School meals in South Korea tend to be delicious and exceptionally healthy, consisting of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and protein. No Korean school lunch would be complete without a bowl of soup, rice, and kimchi. Milk is often served as a beverage, providing bone-boosting nutrients for growing kids.
The Greek diet is deliciously protein- and veggie-rich, which is reflected in the variety of dishes served at school lunch. A typical Greek lunch might consist of stuffed grape leaves, Greek-style orzo accompanied with chicken, and a refreshing salad topped with a generous dose of olive oil.
Healthy eating is a priority in France, and school lunches are another opportunity to educate kids to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Three- or even four-course meals are freshly prepared each day for school children, funded by local municipalities. A typical lunch might consist of salad, sauteed vegetables, and some variety of meat. A side of bread and a fruit tart sourced from a local bakery makes for a special treat.
Basmati rice is eaten with many meals in India, and you'll often find it served as part of nutritious school lunch, accompanying one or two delicious varieties of curry. India’s school lunch program is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the world, feeding approximately 120 million of the country’s poorest children.
Which school lunch gets your vote? How do these school lunches compare to the school lunches served at your school? We hope your return to school is a delicious one!
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