In Japan, school lunches are made from scratch, the food is locally grown and there is no mystery meat. The children help serve it and the parents even ask for the recipes.
“Schools in Japan, by contrast, give children the sort of food they’d get at home, not at a stadium. The meals are often made from scratch. They’re balanced but hearty, heavy on rice and vegetables, fish and soups. The meals haven’t changed much in four decades.
“Mealtime is a scene of communal duty: In both elementary and middle schools, students don white coats and caps and serve their classmates. Children eat in their classrooms. They get identical meals, and if they leave food untouched, they are out of luck: Their schools have no vending machines. Barring dietary restrictions, children in most districts can’t bring food to school, either, until they reach high school.
“Japan’s system has an envious payoff — its kids are relatively healthy. According to government data, Japan’s child obesity rate, always among the world’s lowest, has declined for each of the past six years, a period during which the country has expanded its dietary education program.”
Our former elementary school in Gwinnett served good lunches. I know not all of it was made from scratch but I am pretty sure they made their lasagna from scratch. It was a big deal when they served it, and I would always buy it when I was there. The whole school smelled good when it was lasagna day. They also always had an excellent salad bar every day.
I was so unhappy with the school lunches in Arizona that my kids take their lunches. I would rather send PB&J on wheat bread or yogurt than what they were being served. I think what I am sending is also more economical.
I would love to see a school lunch program like the Japanese program. My 9-year-old would love to have the Japanese food every day. But most kids probably would not. But why couldn’t they cook balanced meals that American kids would like?
What do you think of the Japanese lunches? Would your kids eat them? Should there be a priority to make healthy, fresh lunches at our schools? Should the kids help serve? What would it take to accomplish this? How much do you think school lunches contribute to the obesity problem in America?