What makes a proper plate? School lunches from around the world

7 Apr

Check out these school lunches from around the world.

The responses to this article are interesting. One person wrote that when they were in school, the lunch lady was also educated in nutrition. What if we all were? In cultures where the way of eating is established, everyone in the culture has a general consensus of what is good to eat, and what makes a balanced meal. In the USA, because we are such a beautiful mix of many cultures, there seems to be more confusion about what makes a proper meal. So much so that ketchup and iceburg lettuce have been considered reasonable vegetable sources for an entire meal for a growing child. (we love ketchup! and are even making our own in cooking class this season, but recognize it as a condiment, not in leiu of vegetables.) When students get a choice, of going through a lunch line to pick their food, they may or may not end up with a balanced  looking plate when they have a seat. Making a plate is as much about esthetic as it is about nutrition. And making a plate is generally a learned practice or art, that becomes an intuitive practice – but doesn’t necessarily start out as one. At least not when you are seven. What I notice about some of these images of lunch trays, is that some of them have a little of everything. It makes me wonder if the student had a choice, or if it was just a given that they would take a little of everything.

Talking about the elements of a meal with kids is fun. Look for the rainbow. Where are the roots? How about the stalks? Any leaves? What in the world is protein and where do you find it?  What about fats? What if we all had dinner conversations, about dinner. An extended grace you might call it. We might all soon be experts in food and nutrition, and might get quite good at making the best of the lunch line. Thank goodness we are all working towards better school lunch. There is no reason our children can’t have delicious, nutritious food for lunch everyday. They certainly deserve it.

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