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

Oh la la....! It sounds downright scary ....the punishment aspect is already enough to traumatize the kids. Goes to show you that things are not perfect. I am going to see if i can look online to the menus for your school. They should post them somewhere online. Good luck.

Sure they comment. They compare with the much better food in Wales, the children who do not like what they get here and the punishments. Our children talk one to one with us in this family.

The cook is about five feet tall and as wide as tall as well, I have never yet seen her without a Twix or its like in her hand, at least she is one of the few women not with a perpetual cigarette to her credit. Anyway, she does not look like the kind of person who is too overtly diet conscious.

Hi Brian again...

Sounds like the cook at Lalinde needs to get to early retirement! (or maybe the dietitian/menu planner needs some creativity) I wonder if the other children in Lalinde like this food that is being served? I have had so many different French kids over to the house eating with us and most will enjoy a good tasty meal. Still some like the ketchup on the pasta thing (yikes!) instead of eating the real Italian Ragu alla Bolognese that I like to prepare for kids- (as an example). And I wonder how the other French kids in your kids' canteen are enjoying this menu. As a 'positive' note-maybe they are leaving the table with their stomachs full? Do your kids make comments about how their comrades are enjoying the school lunch meals? Just wondering.

There seem to be two parallel discussions to this topic, but I'll stick here for a moment. The Poitiers menu is inspiring. Where my daughters are at school in Lalinde a typical menu would be carrot salad, chicken in breadcrumbs with purée and mixed vegetables, a piece of cheese, yoghurt or chocolate pudding. The chicken is chicken nuggets by any other name. the purée stodgy and the mixed vegetables from large cans, the cheese is pre-packed portions and the desserts are usually in their pots. I would happily eat the Poitiers menu myself but Lalinde, no thanks. It is not that it is unhealthy, it is simply that given the fuss that is made about healthy diet, they are not inspiring curiosity about food at all by serving this bland and not varied enough diet.

At home we eat very healthily, both my wife and I are food lovers and passionate cooks but not food evangelists. We do make our own hamburgers and fries and have them in front of the TV at least once a month. There again, both girls would rather have moules et frites than the burgers. Otherwise our food is very cosmopolitan albeit my wife's tendency is to stick to Italian a little more but with proportionately less of the heavy sauces.

Hi Suzanne....lucky girls to have such a great mum!

I also agree 100% with dressing up the veg. GIve it a little 'zip' with some vinaigrette or sauteed with oil and garlic and most kids will love it. We do the 3 course meal and serve the veg or salad or soup first, when the kids are hungriest. No eating problems.

And funny-some of my kids prefer green beans done the frenchy way than regular dessert. They fight over the green beans. Make food tasty and it will get eaten. (my opinion).

thanks and good luck for your girls next year !


Hi Mary - interesting post. I regularly look at our primary school menu with interest to see what sorts of foods my children would be eating if they ate at school. In our village there is the option for the child to come home for lunch and eat en famille which we will be doing next year when our 2 girls start Maternelle.

I have to say the menu is good though, regularly includes green beans, stew, fish, lentils, salade and other typical french fare. My girls are quite good with their vegetables now since I've been adding herb butter or a vinaigrette dressing to give them some extra taste.

You mentioned radishes - we went to a friend's house in summer and the starter was radishes with salt & butter - it was actually really good & simple - in fact I copied it the following week when I had friends over. The kids tried them (3 &18m) but weren't too fussed - obviously without the salt. Another starter we've had was cucumber in cream - my eldest won't eat it but my now 2 year old loves it.

For me, reading the school menus allows me to try to incorporate 'normal' french food into our menu so it won't be a surprise for them when they get invited to friends houses for lunch.

My girls love garlic green beans, asparagus spears and sprouting brocoli - this has been a huge change which came about by dressing their veg, like french mums do :)

Hi Tessa!

Thanks for your support. I hope the articles can be helpful. I do believe that if your child's canteen and menus offer a good nutritious and tasty meal this can be a great 'bridge' for what happens at home. The only negative thing that I have heard from my kids is that the small rooms in some of these small schools mean that kids are eating in lots of noise-sometimes difficult for young ones to get use to. Maybe start playing some loud classical music during your dinners to get your little one used to noise while eating (half-kidding :) )!

have a nice day.

Hi Mary, I read your post with interest - and have just had a quick look at your website to which I will be returning to read more of your articles/blog.

With a little one due to start school in September, I must say I am glad she will be eating the "French way" as it does sound more nutritious and will hopefully also encourage her to be open-minded about trying new and different food. On va voir!