What school lunches look like around the world

The memory of a school dinner doesn't fade easily. Whether it was a hearty homemade-style Shepherd's Pie or greasy smiley potato faces and cold peas, we all have a story to tell about the catered lunches at school.

The quality of these meals has become a hot topic in recent years, from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's ongoing campaign to transform school food in Britain to nine-year-old Martha Payne's school dinners exposé blog Never Seconds which became an internet sensation in 2012.

It's equally a nationwide concern in the USA, where one company has taken it upon themselves to show just how varied and surprisingly delicious school lunches are around the world.

Sweetgreen, a chain of American restaurants that run workshops to educate children on healthy eating, has created a photo series featuring the meals that are typically found in schools from Brazil to South Korea.

They contain locally-sourced meats, fresh vegetables and fruit, and look far more nutritious than the meals from Britain and America. Take a look at school lunches from around the world below.


Schools in Greece typically serve baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds.


Schools in Brazil typically serve pork with mixed veggies, black beans and rice, salad, bread and baked plantains.


Schools in Finland typically serve pea soup, beet salad, carrot salad, bread and pannakkau (dessert pancake) with fresh berries.

South Korea

Schools in South Korea typically serve fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies.


Schools in Italy typically serve local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette and some grapes.


Schools in Ukraine typically serve mashed potatoes with sausage, borscht, cabbage and syrniki (a dessert pancake).


Schools in Spain typically serve sautéed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange.


Schools in France typically serve steak, carrots, green beans, cheese and fresh fruit.


Get a daily Stylist treat

Subscribe to our newsletter
Read our privacy policy

Schools in America typically serve fried ‘popcorn’ chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie.

In the UK...

School lunch

These meals, shared by schoolgirl Martha Payne on her blog Never Secondsshow what the average UK school lunches look like. 

Share this article

Related Posts