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French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch, Day 22

Dijon salad
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ted Drake

Welcome to Day 22 for a fun, informal and hopefully interesting look at what children are eating for school lunch in America compared to France.  I think the picture is quite clear, or at least we are getting close!  Been working for over a month looking at what French kids eat in Pau, France and comparing to what American children are eating in Toms River, NJ.  The menus are there: from Day 1 onward…Take a look back!   Hey, I am American and very proud of this, but sorry…I prefer the French lunches.  They seem fresher, more balanced, more fitting to the season, lighter.  They don’t repeat every 2 weeks, so more variety.  Keep reading on and after our 30 days are up, I promise a nice synopsis at the end.  Until then, take a look at what is being served today: 

Toms River, NJ

Served with Choice of 1 Main Dish, 2 Sides and a Half Pint of Milk

Baked Ziti with Meatballs or Macaroni and Cheese

Potato Wedges and Applesauce


Pau, France

Served with slices of baguette and a glass of water

Wheat Grain Salad with Tuna

Pork  Saute with Olives and Butter Beans

Apple Tart


Interesting and appetizing on both sides. However, I repeat myself:  why serve a side of potatoes when you are already serving a starch such as pasta?  I think I know why…potatoes count as a vegetable for school lunches, even if they are deep-fried (french fries). 

 But why not serve a lighter green or orange veggie?  Do you know that each public school lunch menu must meet basic nutritional requirements?   These menus are planned and verified by the dietitian on staff to be sure these requirements are being met. They are controlled and looked at by investigators to be sure your children are receiving balanced menus.  But I still feel we can do efforts, we can progress, we can try to fit this progress into the budget to offer more balanced meals to schoolchildren at a price we can afford.  What do you think?  Let me know I would love to hear from you!  Until then, tune in tomorrow for Day 23.

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