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School lunches around the world

School Lunches from Around The World

Kids around the world are preparing to go back to school. That means homework, new friends and — lunch? Yes, that’s right! Let’s visit four different countries and see what yummy food the school kids eat every day.

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French children enjoy a three- or four-course meal that is made from high-quality ingredients, usually from scratch. The children all sit in the same eating area, the cafeteria. An interesting fact is that there are no vending machines in schools. They’re banned due to the high sugar and fat content of the treats they carry. Typical school lunches in France can have a variety of dishes and ingredients, such as grilled fish, salad, red beans, seasonal vegetables, garlic sausage, fruit salads and chocolate flan (just to name a few). Another perk is that the food is served on plates and eaten with real silverware!


In Japan, the school lunch ingredients are locally sourced and almost never frozen; in addition, the schools employ nutrition experts that work with kids and teach them the importance of good eating habits. Like children in France, Japanese kids eat in a community-like setting with their peers, and even their teachers! The children also wear white hats and robes to serve their classmates, which teaches them teamwork and respect. You can expect to find lots of rice, vegetables, fish, soup, and meat on the plate.


South African school meals have healthy ingredients such as corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. There’s also rice, soft porridge, and meat that is sprinkled in with the vegetables. A special stew is made called potjiekos (named after a potjie, a three-legged pot), which originated from Dutch settlers. The cook puts vegetables, meat, potatoes, and spices into the pot, which is heated by small amounts of wood and twigs. After cooking, the result is a delectable stew!


Colombian school lunch ingredients vary from region to region but can contain rice, potatoes, fruit, beans, meatballs, and vegetables such as corn and avocados. There is a special vegetarian menu also available, and children from two to five years old have their food cut and portioned into smaller sizes.

Colombian School Lunch

We hope you enjoyed our lunch trip around the world and found inspiration to try new foods at your own dinner table!

Want more global back-to-school adventures? Check out Back to School Traditions Around the World!

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