School lunches are not the same around the globe. In fact, they look very different from country to country. Some countries prioritize nutritional value over others, and some follow a certain structure of courses to give children. In the United States, school lunches usually contain specific processed ingredients that cross boxes of what a meal should not entail. However, students abroad experience elevated meals that satisfy their tastebuds with healthy options. 

This French meal consists of kiwis, sweet potatoes, meat, green beans, cheese and apples to make the perfect balanced meal. PHOTO:

On TikTok, @isabellebertolami is an American mother living in France as a registered dietitian. Her child attends a French school, and Isabella uses her platform to give an insight into France’s daily lunch meals at school and how their country prioritizes health and wellness for students. A typical lunch follows the same structure every day: a starter dish, a main dish, a cheese course and of course, a sweet treat at the end. Food is served on real plates with real utensils and about 80% of the food is organic that comes from local farms. An average French school lunch would be a salad of hearts of palm with tomato, croutons and vinaigrette, fish with a side of potatoes, organic camembert and lemon sorbet. With such complex foods, children are exposed to many flavors at a young age to widen their taste buds. Not only do their meals express their overall appetites, but their meals also give us an insight into their daily routines. Because this is definitely a heftier lunch than a typical one in America, according to, “the lunch provides about 40% of students’ calories for the day. Most French children also eat a breakfast, small after-school snack and a dinner rather late, around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.” So in essence, their lunch must keep them tied over until dinner time late at night. 

In the United States, school lunch menus look a little different from France’s. A national school lunch program organizes school lunches around the country which limits the amount of variety due to a set structure that limits any deviation to enter new foods. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is “a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service which works towards the fight against hunger. Many meals orchestrated by the NSLP include average foods like pizza, hamburger patties and the famous soggy tater tots and chicken tender combo. 

Other countries put America to shame when it comes to balanced and nutritional meals. According to Study International, meals in Japan are examined by nutritionists, and the students are educated on the foods that they are eating. The country believes that the key to a healthy lifestyle is oriented around what foods enter your body. Food is fuel and affects your overall mood and well-being. Meals include proteins, carbs, fats and milk to achieve a quality diet. 

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