School Lunch Around the World

In India, school lunches are free. In France, they’re now vegetarian once a week. In America, kids often get pizza or hamburgers — with dessert. This is what school lunch looks like around the world. 🍕

What's on the menu in school cafeterias today?

According to the 2019 edition of The State of the World’s Children from UNICEF, the childhood obesity rate in Japan is under 20%, a very low ratio compared to other developed countries. UNICEF values school meals that have a good nutritional balance.

In the United States, some students bring their lunch from home, but it is common for children to eat at the school cafeteria where pizza and hamburgers are frequently on the menu and are often served with desserts. However, former first lady Michelle Obama made healthy lunches central to her Let's Move! Initiative. Michelle Obama said to a crowd of students, “Studies show that when you eat healthy foods and vegetables, that can actually help you pay attention in class, and do a better job on your homework and tests,”

In India, the government delivers free meals to students. While this is a good reason for parents from unprivileged families to put their children in school, there are also some concerns about food quality and safety. Serving 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres, it is the largest of its kind in the world.

In France, schools will be required to serve vegetarian meals once a week, starting from November this year. The French Ministry of Education takes into consideration children’s health and the impact on the environment. By 2022, 50% of the ingredients will be sustainable and 20% will be organic.

Nowadays, there’s a greater push for schools to step it up. With additional nutritional programming in place, and parents’ growing concern over what their kids are eating, school lunches look different. A more modern, home-packed, school lunch in America might consist of something like a turkey sandwich, crunchy carrots, and blueberries for a sweet treat these days according to Kitchn.