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What Do School Lunches Look like Around the World? [PHOTOS]

What do schoolchildren in other countries eat for lunch? While kids in the US are eating chicken nuggets and cookies, those in France get steak, cooked veggies and brie cheese. Italian kids eat pasta alongside two types of salad and those in Greece snack on stuffed grape leaves, Greek yogurt, and tomato-cucumber salad.

To raise awareness about the importance of school lunch menus, US restaurant chain Sweetgreen released a series of photographs that compare what children around the world are eating for lunch. On the series’ description, Sweetgreen writes:

Did you know that on a typical day, 32 million children in the U.S. eat cafeteria food? Or that most of these students consume over half of their daily calories at school? Facts like these motivate us to connect kids to real food, and teach them how to make healthy choices.

The cultural differences between each of the meals are clear and fascinating. But what’s also obvious – and disappointing – are the health discrepancies between the lunches in the US and those around the world.

Sweetgreen continues:

School cafeterias are one of the biggest areas of opportunity that exist in the battle against childhood obesity. Recently there has been discussion about what constitutes a quality lunch, so we took a look at some typical school meals around the world, and how our own country stacks up.

Take a look for yourself below.

Italy

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Local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette and a bunch of grapes.

Finland

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Pea soup, beet salad, carrot salad, bread and pannakkau (dessert pancake) with fresh berries.

France

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Steak, carrots, green beans, cheese and fresh fruit.

Brazil

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Pork with mixed veggies, black beans and rice, salad, bread and baked plantains.

South Korea

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Fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies.

Greece

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Baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds.

Ukraine

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Mashed potatoes with sausage, borscht, cabbage and syrniki (a dessert pancake).

Spain

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Sautéed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange.

USA

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Fried ‘popcorn’ chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie.
 

   
 
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