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.


11/04/2019 12:58 PM


  • Joann P.
    05/12/2020 11:58

    Home school

  • Jason E.
    11/30/2019 17:31

    If you tried to feed me a vegetarian lunch when I was a kid I would have thrown ALL of it in the trash.

  • Marta M.
    11/30/2019 13:57

    Try Puerto Rico, we serve breakfast and lunch free at schools. What I don’t understand is we use same funding as in the continental U.S. Just watch, then we talk...

  • Christine M.
    11/27/2019 02:58

    We used to have salad bar. Where did it go?

  • Tommie L.
    11/27/2019 00:49

    We don't need it shoved down our throats that's the whole point of living in a free country free to do whatever we want and live however we want if you want to be fat ibe fat if you want to be skinny be skinny

  • Pepita R.
    11/26/2019 19:11

    En P.R. se sirve pizza y hamburger de vez en cuando.

  • Blanca G.
    11/26/2019 01:01

    US schools have the worts food ever!!

  • Aileen P.
    11/25/2019 23:04

    U.S. have failed in the basic things that matters.

  • Joshua T.
    11/25/2019 21:45

    Yes, we did have pizza and burgers on Fridays, but I only remember about three obese kids at our highschool. And yes, Americans can cook, my Mother cooked fresh foods for us almost every day. But...I'll take that French lunch any day. I graduated 19 years ago, so I don't know what they serve now.

  • Nancy T.
    11/25/2019 08:16

    Where are the priorities? 😮😔

  • Kalpana D.
    11/23/2019 22:46

    If you look at the plates it is served in other countries all use reusable cutlery and dishes... where as US schools are all about disposables !!

  • Emma R.
    11/22/2019 13:07

    Read and learn HISD!!!!!

  • Katie K.
    11/22/2019 02:44

    Too bad that organic and standard produce all have the same level of nutrients in the fruit and organic items aren't free from pesticides...just different ones. I think that improving food options for children is great, but the real issue is teaching families how to eat well and providing affordable ways to eat nutritious food.

  • Shoshannah B.
    11/21/2019 22:19

    Obama food had cancer causing additives and they were meager meals

  • Angelia M.
    11/21/2019 21:59

    In Italy there is no school lunch. 6 five hour days of school with lunch provided at home.

  • Markia R.
    11/21/2019 21:22

    If they would enforce that and not give our kids dog food then they would eat it just have lunch with my kids the other day and I was like I see why they come home ready to eat everything in sight I really don't think a dog would have ate that crap!!!!! America has got to do better

  • Elena M.
    11/21/2019 19:42

    Wooooow, diferentes culturas, mismas necesidades...

  • Rachel B.
    11/21/2019 03:35

    lol at the french cafeteria. let's make it safe enough in America to have steak knives in our cafeterias and then we will talk!

  • Zoraida R.
    11/20/2019 15:24

    Unfortunately here in PR , the workers the government have a love for steeling what they can.

  • Kezmen F.
    11/20/2019 04:11

    I want some chicken wings now.

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