What French Kids Eat For School Lunch (it puts americans to shame)?
Many parents dislike the choices their children have in their school cafeterias. While the United States continues to increase the focus on nutrition and healthy food choices, we are still far behind what many other countries offer their children for lunch. Our culture enjoys fast food that may taste good for a moment, but does not always have the greatest nutritional balance or value. Unfortunately, our fast food tastes carry over into our schools.
Many cafeterias in the U.S. include pizza, cheese drenched nachos, fried chicken nuggets and prepackaged snacks served with artificially sweetened beverages. High in fat and calories with a low cost, American lunches get the children fed quickly and within tight budgets. While we have to trust schools with the academic development of our children, we trust too much regarding nutrition.
A recent report details how French school children eat in comparison to Americans. French schools offer meals using fresh ingredients prepared onsite rather than heating pre-made frozen meals. The children are provided with options that include cucumber and tomato salad, baked potatoes, marinated veal, broccoli, zucchini, fish, bread from local bakeries and filtered tap water.
Meetings with certified nutritionists who help the cafeteria staff plan their meals which focus on the experience as well as the food, the difference is astounding. Schools offer their meals on plates in a more formal setting than what Americans understand as a cafeteria lunch – disposable plates or drinks in cartons. Enjoying lunch in French schools is important and extends to the importance of healthy eating and dining as part of a social culture rather than quick, easy and low cost American options.
If your child brings their lunch to school every day, you have more of a say about what your child eats. Otherwise your child is limited to what your school offers in the cafeteria. A great way to get your child healthier options is to contact your school administration and talk to them. With First Lady Michelle Obama’s help, many of the unhealthy options are disappearing from lunch menus, but we still have far to go.