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Cafeteria Crisis — Here’s What Cafeteria Lunches Look Like Around The World Vs. The US [Infographic]

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This is stunning. Visual News put together a compilation of cafeteria lunches from around the world. Let’s just say it’s not pretty, unless you’re in school outside of the US.

At a very fundamental level, it’s a powerful snapshot of each food’s culture and diet. Greece packs their lunches with protein-rich Greek yogurt and grape leaves; South Korea features kimchi, veggies, and rice; and France packs heat with lean meat, brie, and fruit. And it actually all looks delicious, even for something you’d eat in middle school.

And then you arrive at the US. We’re epitomized by chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes. Sadface.

Scroll down and you’ll clearly see how horrible the food that an average American kid eats on a regular basis. It’s overly-processed, devoid of fresh fruit and veggies, and pumped with carbs. And frankly, this representation of a US cafeteria lunch is pretty generous compared to some of the monstrosities that I’ve seen.

“Each day in the United States, over 32 million students eat lunches from their school cafeterias. The food consumed accounts for more than half of each students daily calorie intake – which therefore makes the school cafeteria that much more important in delivering healthy food and preventing child obesity.”

That’s a huge deal. School meals are critical and ultimately serve as a platform to launch long-term eating habits.

As a country, clearly we need to do better — just look at childhood and adolescent obesity rates. In 2012 more than 1/3 of all children and teenagers were overweight or obese, with adolescent obesity rates quadrupling over the past 30 years.1.

Oye.

 

1. Spain


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Spanish Lunch: Shrimp & Brown Rice, Gazpacho, Whole Grain Bread, Peppers, Orange

 

2. France


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French Lunch: Steak, Carrots, Green Beans, Brie, Kiwi + Apples

 

3. Italy


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Italian Lunch: Fish & Arugula, Pasta, Caprese Salad, Bread, Grapes

 

4. Brazil


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Brazilian Lunch: Pork & Vegetables, Rice & Black Beans, Baked Plantains, Salad, Bread

 

5. South Korea


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South Korean Lunch: Tofu & Rice, Fish Soup, Kimchi, Broccoli, Peppers

 

6. Greece


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Greek Lunch: Baked Chicken & Orzo, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Cucumber/Tomato Salad, Greek Yogurt & Pomegranate Seeds, Oranges.

 

7. Finland


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Finnish Lunch: Beet Salad, Pea Soup, Carrots, Bread, Berries, Dessert Pancake (pannakkau).

 

8. Ukraine


cafeteria food, lunch food, international lunch food, international cafeteria food, usa cafeteria food, usa school lunches

Ukrainian Lunch: Sausage & Mashed Potatoes, Borscht, Cabbage, Dessert Pancake (syrniki).

 

9. USA


cafeteria food, lunch food, international lunch food, international cafeteria food, usa cafeteria food, usa school lunches

American Lunch: Fried Chicken & Ketchup, Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Fruit Cup, Chocolate Chip Cookie.




Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
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References, Notes, Links

  1. CDC — Childhood Obesity []