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French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch, Day 6

Classic school lunch. Yum.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ben+Sam

Welcome to Day 6  for another look into two school lunch menus:  Toms River, New Jersey vs. Pau,  France.   If you have been reading  my previous posts, you may start to get a picture on some of the differences between eating in the school cafeteria in America or doing the same in France.  Now, here goes for September 21, 2010.  Enjoy and Bon Appetit! 

Toms River, NJ

Choice of 1 main dish, 2 sides and served with a half pint of milk

Hot dog or Pizza Bagel

Pasta & Vegetable Salad , Fresh Fruit Salad


Pau, France

Served with slices of baguette and water


Ground Beef Pattie with Tomato Sauce , Pasta with Vegetables

Yogurt with Fruit

See the links to Toms River, New Jersey school lunch menus, and Pau, France menus.  What I find interesting is that the side dish is the same between the two schools:  pasta with vegetables! What a coincidence!  Also, there is hot dogs on the menu…well, I know kids like hot dogs, and in France they all serve this; but I have my pet peeve is that they are a real choking hazard, especially in small children.  Why? Because they are just the same size as a child’s esophagus and they are soft and slippery…and slide right down without chewing.  Besides those fun hot dogs, I think both menus are quite ok, what do you think?  Let me know your thoughts…

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5 Responses to French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch, Day 6

  1. mbrighton July 11, 2011 at 04:17 #

    Hi Heidi, sorry it sounds confusing. Yes, there is a choice of a main dish. The two options that are available are underneath. In the case of this day the main dish choices are : hot dog or pizza bagel. If you don’t like those the alternative, available everyday is peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The two sides are also those listed: pasta & veg salad & fresh fruit salad. Not sure on whether only white milk is available. It wasn’t stated on menu.
    I will check out the menu for your school. So what do you think of those two main dish choices?Yes, packed lunch is a good option, especially on days like this lunch day. Appreciate your comment, please let me know if see anything else confusing.

  2. Heidi July 11, 2011 at 00:24 #

    This is an interesting exercise, and I realize that it’s been a while since your post, but I wanted to comment that it’s hard to compare the menu because you’re not posting the entire menu for the U.S. school.

    What you’re posting is the standard menu “choice of one main and two side dishes”, and the “extras” that they have every day for the kids who won’t eat the “main and two sides”. But, you don’t list what the main dish or the side dishes are for that day. So you’re missing a big part of the menu, and a big part of the problem.

    Please see this example from our children’s school system in Newport News VA:

    You will see that typical main dishes are items such as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, chicken patty or fish patty on a bun, Pizza Dippers, etc. These are all breaded and fried. The buns are white bread. They also offer nutritional vacums like PB&J Uncrustables as a “main dish”.

    Also note that the “milk” offered at the cafeteria is white milk, or they can choose strawberry or chocolate milk. If you’ve ever stood in the cafeteria line at a school, you will know that not very many children choose white milk over chocolate or strawberry – both of which have more sugar per fluid ounce than soda.

    The ONLY way, at least in our school system, to ensure that your children get a healthy, nutritious lunch is to pack one for them every morning.


  1. The history and institution of the Kyushoku — Japanese School Lunch « EDUCATION IN JAPAN COMMUNITY Blog - July 7, 2012

    […] lunches rival the Japanese school lunches for quality and cost, see French School Lunch Menus and French school lunch compared to American school lunch article by a registered dietitian living in Southwest […]

  2. suzannesaxeroux - September 21, 2010

    RT @mbrighton66 French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch, Day 6:

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  3. Suzanne Saxe-R, Ed.D - September 21, 2010

    RT @mbrighton66 French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch, Day 6:

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