11 School Lunches Eaten By Children In Countries Around The World

What does your child eat at school? Does he pack a home-cooked meal or eat what the school provides?

The Associated Press recently sent photographers to Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America to see what kids in different countries ate for lunch during the same week. Which do you think is the best meal?


In France, lunch is an art form: hot, multi-course and involving vegetables. While their mothers were at work Tuesday, children in Lambersart in northern France were served ratatouille, salmon, rice, a chunk of baguette and an orange.

France school lunch

A school lunch is laid out on a tray at the Anne Franck school in Lambersart, northern France. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)


Children receive a free mid-day meal made of sweetened rice at a government school on the outskirts of Jammu, India. The Mid-Day Meal is a massive school feeding program reaching out to millions of children in primary schools across India, mainly to enhance school enrollment and attendance and improve nutritional levels among children.

India school lunch

Children stand in line to receive a free mid-day meal on the outskirts of Jammu, India. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)


Fresh food is also on the menu at the DEL-Care Edu Center in downtown Singapore, where students are fed breakfast, lunch and even dinner for kids of parents who work late. Typical lunches include spaghetti marinara, fish slices, chicken casserole or lotus root soup.

Singapore school lunch

Bowls of salad are ready to be served at Delcare Edu Center, a local kindergarten and child care center in the business district of Singapore.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)


Kids usually bring a home-cooked meal to school in Pakistan, where school leaders check lunch boxes for junk food and admonish parents to keep things healthy. A typical sack lunch at The Bahria Foundation school in Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital, Islamabad, includes eggs, chicken nuggets, bread, rice or noodles. Some also include leftovers such as minced mutton and vegetables cooked the night before.

Pakistan school lunch

Assorted lunch plates are arranged at a table for students at the Bahria Foundation school in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

West Bank

Palestinian children in the West Bank usually eat during recess in the schoolyard, as there are no dining rooms in schools.

West Bank school lunch

Palestinian students during their half-hour mid-day break In the West Bank city of Nablus. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)


In Indonesia, not every student can bring a lunch box to school. Public school students buy their lunch at school cafeterias or food stalls on the nearby streets. The price for one pancake is about one U.S. cent.

Indonesia school lunch

A public elementary school girl buys a pancake for her lunch on the street in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)


Ecuadorian children bring sack lunches to school, typically a sandwich, juice, yogurt, cookies and piece of fruit.

Ecuador school lunch

A student’s lunch box brought from home sits on display at an elementary school in Quito, Ecuador. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)


Two lunch trays at a primary school in London are served during a lunch break. One choice consists of pasta with fresh broccoli and slices of bread, and seasonal fresh fruit. The other contains vegetable chili with rice and fresh broccoli, sponge cake with custard, and a banana. The drink options are milk and water.

London school lunch

Two lunch trays at a primary school in London are served during a lunch break. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)


Lunches in Old Havana, Cuba, contain rice, a chicken croquette, a piece of taro root and yellow pea soup. The children provide their own drinks.

Cuba school lunch

Milagro Ramos, a student at the Angela Landa elementary school, spoons up rice from her lunch tray, which also contains a chicken croquette, a piece of taro root and yellow pea soup in Old Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)


A school lunch at El Caminet del Besos kindergarten in Barcelona, Spain, is composed of cream of vegetable soup, pan-fried breast of veal with salad, a piece of bread, an orange or banana and water. Most countries seem to put a premium on feeding school children a healthy meal at lunchtime. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is on a mission to make American school lunches healthier too.

Spain school lunch

A school lunch at El Caminet del Besos kindergarten is pictured in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

United States

In Federal Way, Washington, schools have embraced the first lady’s lunch campaign.

At Mirror Lake Elementary, about 20 miles south of Seattle, students ate grilled cheese sandwiches, corn salad, fresh carrots, apple sauce and low-fat milk on Monday. The bread was whole grain, the cheese low fat and low sodium, the carrots fresh and fruit the only dessert.

Fried food, white bread, sugar-laden desserts and overcooked vegetables have all but disappeared from the American school menu. Anything kids can pick up with their fingers is popular in the younger grades. High school students enjoy some spicy and exotic choices, especially Asian flavors, says Federal Way chef and dietitian Adam Pazder.

US school lunch

A school lunch at Mirror Lake Elementary School in Federal Way, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The school lunches eaten by children of the same age from different countries around the world reveal a range of diverse cultures, cuisines and backgrounds. Share these school lunches with others.