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MARCH 3, 2015 by KAREN FOSTER
How Do Typical School Lunches Served In Other Countries Compare To The U.S? Photos From Around The Globe


Did you know that on a typical day, 32 million children in the U.S. eat cafeteria food? Or that most of these students consume over half of their daily calories at school? Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.


Fried "popcorn" chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie.

By comparison of the U.S. lunch above, a school lunch in Spain typically contains sauteed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange; baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds in Greece; and fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies on South Korea.

There is a group of retired military officers stating that today’s school lunches are making the kids so fat that many are unable to meet the military’s physical fitness standards. More than one-third of kids in America are obese or overweight and although some of the problem relates to lack of physical activity, many experts agree that a poor diet is primarily responsible. Many parents also fail to recognize the problem in their own children. More than 70% of parents of overweight children state that their child's weight is not a health problem.

Sweetgreen evaluated different government standards for school lunch programs and compared the data to real photos from students who had posted on several social media platforms. Because school lunches can vary by region, it's important to note that the images below aren't exact representations of a country's school lunch, but offer a resemblance.

The U.S. government acknowledges that children should not go hungry, but there's less of an emphasis on what exactly our children are being fed. With the great risks associated with being overweight and news that diet may be just as important to mental health as it is to physical health, the state of students' nutrition should be all it takes to improve the quality of the lunch tray -- think fewer chicken nuggets and more produce.


Pork with mixed veggies, black beans and rice, salad, bread and baked plantains.


Local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette and some grapes.


Pea soup, beet salad, carrot salad, bread and pannakkau (dessert pancake) with fresh berries.


Fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies.


Steak, carrots, green beans, cheese and fresh fruit.


Baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds.


Mashed potatoes with sausage, borscht, cabbage and syrniki (a dessert pancake).


Sauteed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange.

Sources:
sweetgreen.tumblr.com
huffingtonpost.com
ecowatch.com

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