One of my favorite things to explore with my children is the traditions of different cultures. This includes of course, music, food – and not just any food – but lunches! We can get creative and unique with what we put in our school lunches, thereby making it not only fun, but a great learning experience.
We received in the mail, only a few months ago, a lovely little package. It was Awa’s first shipment from Little Passports.
She absolutely loved it, and cannot wait to get the next bit of adventure news in the mail from Sam and Sofia. In this digital age, there really is something special about receiving mail-in-hand.
It’s even more wonderful when it is our children receiving it, as they would receive it much less than we ever did as children! It’s a novelty of sorts now … and all the more fun when it is both worldly and educational.
Let’s have a look at what other children around the world might find in their school lunch boxes…
Kids around the world are preparing to go back to school—that means homework, new friends and … lunch? Yes, that’s right! Let’s visit different countries and see what yummy food the school kids eat every day!
French children enjoy a 3 or 4-course meal that is made from high-quality ingredients, and are mostly made from scratch. The children all sit in the same eating area, the cafeteria. An interesting fact is that there are no vending machines in schools, because they’re banned due to the high sugar and fat content of the treats they carry. Typical school lunches here can have a variety of dishes and ingredients, such as grilled fish, salad, red beans, seasonal vegetables, garlic sausage, fruit salads and chocolate flan (just to name a few). Another perk is that the food is served on plates and eaten with real silverware!
In Japan, the school lunch ingredients are locally sourced and almost never frozen; in addition, the schools employ nutrition experts that work with kids and teach them the importance of good eating habits. Like the children in France, Japanese kids also eat in a community-like setting with their peers, and even their teachers! The children also wear white hats and robes to serve their classmates, which teaches them teamwork and respect. You can expect to find lots of rice, vegetables, fish, soup, and meat on the plate.
South African school meals have natural ingredients such as corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. There’s also rice, soft porridge, and meat that is sprinkled in with the vegetables. A special stew is made called potjiekos (named after a potjie, a three-legged pot), which originated from Dutch settlers. The cook puts vegetables, meat, potatoes, and spices into the pot, which is heated by small amounts of wood and twigs. After cooking, the result is a delectable stew!
Colombian school lunch ingredients usually vary from region to region, but can contain rice, potatoes, fruit, beans, meatballs, and vegetables such as corn and avocados. There’s a special vegetarian menu also available, and children from 2 to 5 years old have their food cut and portioned into smaller sizes.
We hope you enjoyed our lunch trip around the world, and perhaps found inspiration to try new foods at your own dinner table!