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How the French do lunch better

Ninke Janse van Rensburg

13 Jun 2022

The French are famous for their food, but did you know their school children eat better than most?

Multiple courses

In France lunch time has become an hour long lesson. Children don't simply go out to break and eat their black cat peanut butter sarmie and go on with their day. No, the French have turned lunch time into a 5 course meal where children learn about healthy eating.

What's on the menu

During lunch children get, yes you read right, a 4 or 5 course meal. It's put together monthly by a nutritionalist, the school chef and the local education department. The menu usually consists of a fresh salad and veggie starter, a cheese dish, a warm main course and yes, dessert.

The French have mastered the art of balance, food is not about restricting, but about pleasure. They have desert in moderation. Vending machines are by law, banned in schools.

Don't be surprised when you see items like veal and fresh fish, elaborate tarts and Camembert on the menu.

The benefit

Children are seated together with a jug of water (no sugary juices) and taught how to eat and drink together. Lunch time is a lesson where children learn to share, hold their cutlery, chew their food properly and learn about different food groups.

What children eat at school reflects what they eat at home, and those healthy eating habits are sustained throughout their life. It becomes how they feed their families in the future, and helps to create a healthy society.

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