Another installment of French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch! Onto Day 24, only 6 days left until our 30 Day goal. If you have been following this blog you know that the first 23 days were comparing school lunch menus from Toms River, New Jersey to Pau, France. But the Toms River menu is on a two-week cycle, it repeats itself often (too often I think). Actually, every Friday in Toms River we see the same menu (pizza and italian ice). Sorry Toms River but your school lunch menus just got too boring! Is this the case for other schools around America? Are they also very repetitive or do they have that special spark in their meals, either an emphasis on diversity, fruits and vegetables, low-fat, freshness, eating local? Or a menu that changes daily, like in Pau, France? Are the school lunch programs around France similar to the one we looked at in Pau? I don’t know, so why not explore? So, today…let’s compare Boston, Massachusetts to Lille, France:
Popcorn Chicken or Toasted Cheese Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Bread with Margarine
BBQ Sauce, Cut Green Beans,Fresh Banana, Raisins
Whole Wheat Bun and Milk
Old Fashioned Veal Stew
Vegetables and Potatoes
Slice of Cantal Cheese and Clementines
The prices for the two meals are $2.25 for Boston menu at full price and 2.22 Euros at full price for the meals in Lille. Euros converted to American dollars equals a one dollar difference with meals in Lille being more expensive. Looking more closely at the meals for today…very interesting…on the American side in Boston we can see the emphasis on fiber, whole grains and fruits. Basic fruits are served: bananas and raisins, but these are the fruits that children like and are more likely to eat, especially if the child is picky.
Just looking at this one day, it seems to me that Boston has a healthier menu compared to what we can see in Toms River. Yes, there is the popcorn chicken and BBQ sauce (not super healthy), but kids have the option of a toasted cheese sandwich instead. Focusing on the menu in Lille, at first glance it seems less innovative than the Pau menu. OK…Lille serves vegetables and potatoes..but how are they cooked? And what kind of vegetables are they? Come on Lille be more descriptive! So, I would say that, in contrast to the menu comparison between Toms River and Pau, where Pau always seemed to have that healthier, more diverse and balanced food options…it seems that Boston and Lille are quite a good match! For those that don’t know, Lille is about one hour north of Paris, a very large European city with diverse cultural background. We have friends that live in Lille; they tell me that the food in Lille has influences coming from Northern France and England. Thus, the potatoes on the menu, a big English favorite. Let me know what you think…do you also think that Lille is a good match for Boston when comparing two healthy school lunch menu options for kids?