School lunch in France vs. USA: thought some of the Franglais parents (and kids) would find this article interesting

If there are so many choices on the American school lunch menu why are many children still leaving the lunchroom hungry? Does it take a child's liberties away to offer just one choice and encourage them to eat that meal served in front of them?

This is what happens daily in a French school lunch room.

Perhaps this only one choice works in France because the French are experts at l'éducation au goût (taste education).

Here is an article on Comparing French School Lunch to American School Lunch: Choices

What do you think?

Oh good, but 7th is still pretty appalling. Thank the French press for everybody who believes that one. Strange things they sometimes want to be proud of here!

"Is anybody surprised that after the USA France has the biggest number of MacDonald franchises"

Hem. That's a myth, I'm glad to say. France comes in 7th for the No. of McDo outlets after Japan (!) the UK, China, Brazil, Canada and Germany. At least acc to June 2012 data. Still far too many though.

Brian, it sounds like your local school is terrible all round. Mind you, now the kids are in primaire lunch is 5.30€ per day, so they certainly have the budget for it.

Much impressed Tracy, wish my daughters could have some of that!

On the matter of choice. When my children, then in early years of primary in Wales from 4 to 8 in one case (plus being a bit backward because she is Down) and 4 to 7 in the other, bearing in mind both have end of school year birthdays that put them in first year so young, they had multi-choice meals. However, it was set up so that the choices were on display and they then asked whether they wanted x amount. They were allowed to mix to a point. It was a three course meal, usually three choices each course, which means some calculation. Then there was the choice of drinks, all juices/squashes or nothing because water was always on the table.

As a school governor I was occasionally obliged to make an appearance as a lunch guest and saw how well the children coped. By the end of the first year they became quick and efficient. Children with diets, there were health diets, Hindu vegetarians, Moslem halal, and other special needs they had a separate area where they were served but then joined the other children. The school canteen was a pleasure place to be in. Some of the food was typically Welsh and a bit bland, but none of it was overcooked or served without care and attention.

Now at 9 and 11 respectively their school food is just a very ordinary standardised portion, irrespective of 6 or 11 years old, without choice and any kind of food statement.

I have seen children worldwide make choices, many far more difficult than choosing food, from very low ages. I also know just how good children are at decision making sharing, including with adults, and have enough publications on the topic to my credit to wish to see much, much more of it in France than they extend to children. If it begins with food and just being able to share some of the planning of menus then that is an enormous and praiseworthy step forward. The doctrinal approach of children 'must eat' and especially the slavish belief in them needing to have animal proteins in every meal is demeaning to children who are supposedly learning many thing including management of their own lives, thus choices. Is anybody surprised that after the USA France has the biggest number of MacDonald franchises and that the country with a reputation for cuisine has second biggest per capita consumption of 'take away' foods such as McDo, pizzas, etc in Europe, catching up with the UK fast at that!

That's appalling!

Interesting to see how parts of France differ. I did a blog about it on here at the beginning of last year as I am so impressed with the school lunches. The menu in italics is what is served to the maternelle children but from CP (age 6) they are free to make their own choice but they are all healthy options. It obviously works as my kids, like most siblings argue over what veg they want, the 8yr old wants sprouts and the 5 yr old prefers spinach??? Strange kids huh!

I agree Chris. I wonder if we ever got to look into the heart of these large corporations and found the children/grandchildren of the grandees whether we would find them at public schools eating sugar rich instead of any other nutrient garbage or select private schools with top class dieticians. My suspicious mind suggests the latter.

The newspaper announced a contract with CocaCola for vending machines in the local school district. McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut are choices in some schol districts, particularly inner city schools -- in exchange for money to support the education costs and keep real estate taxes down. Just another form of child abuse.

Brilliant post. Should be mandatory reading for new parents.

Yes Mary, it is something of a 'war zone' between parents and teachers at present because of bad teaching, lack of communications and lots more.

The morale must be so low there. And this passes down to the chain to the kids...Quelle dommage.

Well, the same as the a-mail to the directrice is permanently switched off. They got rid of the school secretary and the librarian/IT assistant since when e-mailing the school is out. There is some kind of notion of saving money by not having them! These people are absolutely antediluvian, if even as recent as that!

there must be a reason for this. how easy it is to put a link that works. hmmmmm

I remember school dinners in the 1950s they scared me for life revolting mush i had countless battles with the dinner ladies refusing to eat the food until my mother was summond who took one look at the food presented and told the cook she should apply for another job but not in a kitchen mum and myself went down in the history of that school, my sister 12 years later had the same probably still the same cook and food it was the same headmistress she was legendry by this time rumours being rife about countless reprimands but she kept her job being at the same school until she retired being there well over 30 years perhaps that was saving other pupils the torment or her attitude towards children

Oh the cantine link. Hahaha, I cannot remember that ever having worked for any of the schools since we have been here.

Just tried on the annuaire, not there. Mind you, it is a mean municipality as regards spending on anything that does not bring them more money in! I'm very happy we do not live in the town or canton!

Very true Veronique. Good point on the choices. Some American menus have 3 main meal choices for that day ...what to choose?

ps- found the site for Lalinde (in Dordogne region, right?) . Got to cantine link for the schools on the website but it was broken. Will try again in a week or so.