Is your child's school lunch healthy? Here's what kids in some other countries are eating...
There has been a lot of focus recently on healthy eating for kids - and school dinners have undergone some pretty radical changes in recent years to become healthier. But are we doing enough to ensure our children are getting the nutrients and fuel they need for a productive day at school? Many schools in the UK still lack a good choice of healthy and fresh foods. US restaurant chain Sweetgreen and Never Seconds, a website run by Martha Payne, a Scottish schoolgirl who records her experiences of school lunches, carried out a comparison of school lunches around the world. We thought you might be interested to see the (surprising) results!
Frankfurter and beans, baked potato, corn on the cob, a slice of melon and a boxed drink
Fried popcorn chicken and ketchup, peas, mashed potato, a chocolate chip cookie and fruit cup
Steak, carrots, green beans, Brie and fruit
Pea soup, beet salad, carrots, bread, fresh fruit and pannakkau (dessert pancake)
Local fish with rocket salad, pasta, caprese salad, bread and grapes
Tofu with rice, broccoli, peppers, kimchi and fish soup
Pork with vegetables, rice with black beans, salad, bread and baked plantains
Prawns, brown rice, bread, peppers, gazpacho and an orange
Sausage and mashed potatoes, borscht, cabbage and syrniki (dessert pancake)
Baked chicken with orzo, cucumbe and tomato salad, stuffed vine leaves, oranges and yoghurt with pomegranate seeds
Fried fish, dried seaweed, tomatoes, miso soup with potatoes, rice and milk
It's clear that the lunch trays for the UK and the USA contain a lot of processed foods, whilst fresh food is the main component of meals from the other countries. Here's what nutritional therapist Lorna Driver-Davies had to say about the meals:
"Looking at the lunches from across the world, it seems mixed in terms of how balanced the diets are. Looks can be deceiving, since whilst the Finnish lunch looks very healthy, the focus is on starchy carbs, starchy vegetables and fruit. So for me it's lacking in adequate protein or green leafy vegetables." Experts believe the Brazilian, South Korean and French meals are the healthiest, with offerings from the UK and the USA at the bottom of the pile.
Two healthier options were also shown from a primary school in London, below:
On the left, vegetable chilli with rice and broccoli, sponge cake with custard and a banana. On the right, pasta with broccoli, bread and fruit.
It's clear to see that we still have some way to go when it comes to providing super-healthy, fresh food for our kids' school meals. In the meantime, it's vital to teach your children about healthy eating at home - it's never too early to start.