The food served in schools has been a part of our growing up years. Lunch breaks were times when each of us could spend quality time bonding with our friends, and run and play after a hurried lunch. Undoubtedly, lunch breaks make up an important part in each of our lives. The fact that the food served had to be finished, regardless of whether we despised the food ladled onto our plates, ensured none of us actually went on a hungry stomach. Come to think of it now, that we are adults and enjoying the other side of life, the memories of school days seem so much more fun. From lunch-time prayers to post-lunch games, break times have always been a special feature of our growing up years.
With the laws in place, most schools serve a mandatory lunch to their students. While some schools offer their pupils the freedom to choose their lunch, most other schools have a fixed menu for a particular day of the week, thus, ensuring that the nutrition needs of the children are met. We shall take a look at what school lunches look like in different parts of the world.
Salads and Meat in France
Lunch is the most important meal of the day, and schools incorporate a five-course meal even for preschoolers. Lunch begins with an appetizer, salad, main course, cheese plate, and is completed with a dessert. The meal often encompasses potato leek soup, carrot and bean salad, meat and cheese served with or without bread, and grapefruit. The food is washed down with water.
Bento Meals in Japan
A single portion of rice or noodles with fish or meat makes the typical lunch fare of Japanese school kids. As a custom, children eat with their teachers, thus, keeping picky eating habits at bay. The food is downed with a carton of milk.
Chicken and Corn in England
Lunch served at schools in England consists of fried chicken and corn, served with a dessert. Fried items, however, are restricted to two items per week. The meal consists of one portion each of vegetables, fruits, and healthy proteins.
Egg/Vegemite Sandwich in Australia
Lunch time boils down to either an egg sandwich accompanied with steamed carrots, or a Vegemite and cheese sandwich. Australian schools do not have a cafeteria, which means that, the children usually carry their own lunch or order-in from the canteen.
Fried Chicken in the United Kingdom
The meals provided need to meet nutritional standards, thus, ensuring healthy and balanced diets for the kids. The meal served consists of high-quality meat, poultry or fish, a portion of vegetables, potatoes or bread, and other cereals and milk. Fizzy drinks, chocolates, or sweets aren't allowed, so is serving more than 2 portions of deep-fried food a week.
Parantha and Vegetable in India
Most school children carry their lunch along, which consists of a plain/stuffed parantha with a serving of vegetables or yogurt. With the implementation of the Midday Meal Program, many schools serve a meal made of either Bulgar wheat or rice to the students.
Kimchi and Rice in South Korea
Kids in South Korea eat a meal consisting of rice, kimchi, soup, and fish. The kids, however, are supposed to take turns serving their fellow classmates, which means meal time is also considered to be a part of learning.
Meat and Fries in Finland
The meal laid out before students in Finland consists of potatoes/rice/pasta, meat/fish, soups, and vegetables. Bread, milk/buttermilk and water are served along with the meals. The buffet system allows them to take how much they want, thus, ensuring lesser wastage.
Chicken and Vegetables in America
The American school lunch could consist of anything, ranging from chicken nuggets served with spinach, to ravioli served with fries. Some schools even serve chicken nuggets with a portion of vegetables and fruit, downed with a glass of milk.
Sandwich in Canada
Children carry their own lunch boxes to school, which often comprises a sandwich, fruit, and juice. The sandwich filling can be anything from peanut butter and jelly, to fish and chicken fillet with vegetables. Most children are allowed to go home for a quick lunch, and get back.
Pasta and Meat in Italy
A typical lunch in Italy encompasses zucchini risotto, accompanied with a mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad. Then there is also pasta and spaghetti, along with salad, meat, and bread. A meal generally includes two main courses, a side dish, and a fruit.
Potatoes and Meat in Sweden
Primary school children, in particular, are entitled to a free lunch every day. The menu laid out for lunch includes potatoes/rice, meat/fish, and vegetables. This is accompanied with water and milk offered as drinks.
Rye Sandwich in Norway
Children often get their lunch boxes from home, which consists of rye bread sandwiched with salami, lettuce, and cheese. Most schools, however, offer drinks and snacks like milk, yogurt, and fruits.
Rice Platter in China
The meal in China is incomplete without a serving of rice, vegetables, and meat. Noodles, steamed bread, soup, and vegetables are served for lunch in this country.
Wraps in Mexico
Mexican kids usually go home for a sumptuous lunch, and hence, carry a wrap or a sandwich for snacks. Lunch boxes generally consist of a ham and bean sandwich, or a chicken and lettuce wrap, and a serving of fruit.
Apart from the lunches mentioned here, most students carry sandwiches, pizzas, or burgers to munch on during their recess. As with common culture, munching on a bag of chips, a packet of biscuits, and slurping on packaged drinks is becoming quite a fad these days.