Japan's school food

In Japan, children eat lunch in their classrooms, but cleaning up after a meal is not a problem since there are so many hands to help with the work. Not only do the children take care of the classroom, but they take turns bringing in and serving the food to their classmates.

Lunches are primarily traditional Japanese food, but the children also enjoy dishes from other Asian and Western countries. Lunch is prepared from fresh ingredients every day, and in most cases, they are locally sourced.

The food children eat at school is considered an important part of their total education. One of the government directors responsible for the food commented, “What is most difficult for me to explain is why we can do this and other countries cannot.”

The schools are often contacted by parents, asking for recipes for dishes the children enjoyed at lunch, and the plate waste is a tiny 5%.

France's school food

School lunch is taken seriously in France, where the time allowed is between one and two hours. In many schools, the children are given five-course meals that reflect the French skill in cooking and include a wide diversity of dishes. There is no such thing as kid-oriented food, and even preschoolers use knives and forks as they are taught to savor their meal slowly. Children learn to enjoy a variety of foods since no lunch is served more than once a month.

Parents are given a listing of what their children eat each day, along with suggestions of what parents should provide for the dinner meal.

The parents pay for the meals, and for those children whose families cannot afford the full price, their meals are subsidized. The cost of a school lunch can run $5 to $6 in expensive Paris, but in the countryside the cost is about half that.

Food is freshly purchased from local sources, and prepared from scratch every day, and the kitchen is kept scrupulously clean.

India's school food

One of the oldest free school lunch programs in the world is served to 1.2 million students in India. The food includes vegetables, cereals, soups and milk.

Finland's school food

Children in Finland have been enjoying free school food for over 60 years, and in some cities the schools also provide food for citizens who cannot afford to feed themselves adequately.

Students serve themselves from a buffet offering a variety of nourishing food, and meals for college students are subsidized.

Sweden's school food

Like Finland, Swedish students can select what they want from a buffet, and the food is provided free to children in elementary and secondary schools.

School Food in Other Countries