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French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch Day 26

Earth School Potluck I
Creative Commons License photo credit: edenpictures

Back for the last downspin on comparing what school lunch menus are like in America versus France.  A hot topic, both in the news and on First Lady Michelle Obama’s agenda to make school lunch meals in America healthier.  Good for her…she is right…we need to do something!  Here is a recent article in the New York Times describing what has been written here in this blog for the last couple months:  kids are our future; we need to feed them well in school; and we need to adjust some of these school lunch menus to be more balanced, healthier, diverse and fresh.  We looked at Toms River, New Jersey school lunch programs over the first 23 lunch days, jumped up to Boston and over to the other side to Seattle…and now to:  Columbus, Ohio!  Wait until you see, what a selection, I’m inspired! These kids that eat in Columbus, well it is like being at a restaurant!  This menu is compared to  one in Montpellier, France;  a large city located in Southcentral France.  So, without further Adieu, here are the menus: 


CHOICE OF:  Ham & Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

Swiss Bacon Burger with Fries

Cheese Pizza

Chicken BLT Salad or  Turkey Bacon Club Wrap with Chips

Served with Selection of Fruits and Vegetables, Skim or 1%  Chocolate Milk



Mixed Salad

Sautéed Turkey

Vegetable Casserole

Slice of Tomme Cheese,  Apricot Tart

Feeling a bit better looking at this American school lunch program.  You can really see that some schools make real efforts to provide choices to the kids; some may not be the “healthiest” choices, but overall…encouraging.  I am sure that any child eating from this menu could find something they like.  Yes, it looks like Columbus, Ohio makes a great effort to get kids interested in eating…offering the choices a bit like in a restaurant…different stations to walk to (Deli, Grill, Main Event and From the Garden) and in the “Garden” section fruits and vegetables.  I wonder how these veggies are prepared…are they local? Are they whole foods like in Seattle (this means raw and fresh)? And lastly, do the children select fruits and vegetables to put on their tray?  Do they head off to the same stations everyday or do the kids try to vary what they eat? 

The city in France…Montpellier…a city considered one of the best places to live in France because of  its climate (wonderful weather!), location (near Spain, halfway between the ocean and the Alpes, the student environment (big universities city) and finally the cuisine (Southern France)…Yet, although the menu is balanced and varied, it doesn’t seem to have the extra “splash” that the menu in Pau seemed to have.  The usual French-type menu, with a fresh food starter, a main meal, vegetable, a slice of cheese and dessert.  I also looked at the school lunch menu in Montpellier for the week, it is about the same..a typical French menu…just that.  Pau seems to add those funky twists such as Gizzard salad, Hungarian Goulash, Savory Donuts with White Radish.  Not so much in Montpellier…but then again, there is that balance between trying to offer foods that children will like and eat..and opening up their palate to trying new things.  Having too many “funky” items on kids menus can also turn them away from eating at the school cafeteria. So, Montpellier is just that typical French school lunch menu, nothing more.   Tune back tomorrow..there are more surprises in store!  If your child eats particularly well at their school cafeteria, if the school lunch menu is particularly good or bad…comment or contact me, would love to publish some of these ‘outside’ the norm stories. 

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2 Responses to French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch Day 26

  1. kekwa November 11, 2010 at 08:37 #

    Both my mother and grandma (on mom’s side of the family, the one on my dad’s side makes some pretty revolting casseroles)can make a mean BBQ Chicken casserole plus a creamy Tuna casserole. I’ve tested out but never had the opportunity to stomach over 2 bites of Greenbean casserole nevertheless. Some thing about slimy onion rings as well as the overbearing scent of greenbeans mixed with onions never bodes well with me.

    • mbrighton November 11, 2010 at 22:49 #

      Hi Kekwa, funny how family casseroles can bring back some good memories. Thanks for reading…and commenting.

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