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School Lunch Menus in America and France, Are We Moving Forward?

An Apple a Day On All School Lunch Menus?   

A year ago brightonyourhealth did a 30 day school lunch menu comparison between two countries:  United States and France.  What we concluded was a big need for improvement, especially in the American school lunch program.  Since then, the movement to bring healthier school lunches to all children has brought some key changes.  Here is an update:  one year later.


In 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed the following modifications to the American school lunch program.  These new guidelines were established after Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed. Changes were unveiled for the new school year 2011-2012 although the new plans will continue to be implemented through 2013.

More fruits and vegetables, fruit cups instead of sugary desserts, more vegetables on the menu

Less sodium, less salty foods

Leaner meats, roasted or baked chicken instead of fried for example

Reduced fat dairy products, 1% or skim flavored or plain milk instead of whole or 2% milk

Whole grains on the menu, whole wheat pasta or bread

Here is a great article written by one of my favorite websites, The, summarizing these USDA school lunch program changes.


On September 30, 2011 a new school lunch resolution was passed in France.  The objectives were to help slow down the rate of child obesity along with children leaving the lunchroom more satisfied and less hungry.  Main changes to the program are:

Four to Five different dishes will be offered in place of the standard first course, main meal and dessert

Bread and water will be offered without restrictions

Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and salt will be served only with appropriate dishes, instead of all the time.

Red meat and fish served once/week

Raw vegetables and salads served every other day

French fries or chips as known in other countries served only once/week

These changes are highlighted in an article published here on


FRANCE (Pau, France)

Salade Farandole:  Frisee lettuce, white cabbage, corn and radish

Lamb stew with Couscous

Cream cheese and Slices of Baguette

Apple-Pineapple Applesauce

Water to Drink

AMERICA (Toms River, New Jersey)

Popcorn Chicken or Cheeseburger Deluxe

Tossed Salad

Fruit Cocktail

1/2 pint milk

A year ago, here on brightonyourhealth, as part of the 30 day school lunch menu comparison, we took a look at what was on the lunch plates of children in Pau and Toms River.  Check it out and tell me what you think.  At a first glance, it doesn’t look like much has changed.  The French menu in Pau continues to surpass the Toms River, NJ school lunch menu for freshness, balance and healthy offerings.  What is happening where you live?  Do you see positive changes in your school’s lunch program? Do you feel not enough is moving?  More improvement is needed?  Support your school and support the school lunch leaders who want change.

Will continue to track the progress on school lunch reform.  This is an important subject.  Until next time I wish you Bon Appetit.

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  1. Pink Slime in America and Mechanically Separated Meat in Europe: Gross | brightonyourhealth - March 26, 2012

    […] slime ended up in the school lunch program doesn’t surprise me very much. A year ago, here on BrightonYourHealth, we published a 30 school lunch meal comparison on what is served on the menu between America […]

  2. Yuki - October 23, 2011

    うーん。変わってないように思うけどなぁー。 School Lunch Menus in America and France, Are We Moving Forward? –

  3. Lana the Iguana - October 14, 2011

    It's Nat'l School Lunch Week! Read 2 compare US lunch to lunch in France, and read about recent changes to US lunches.

  4. Suzanne Saxe-R, Ed.D - October 13, 2011

    RT @mbrighton66 School Lunch Menus in America and France, Are We Moving Forward?: A year of school lunch program…

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