Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

Lunch: Part of the School Curriculum?

Diane mentioned in a previous post that our kids can’t take lunch to school. However, lunch is provided if you pay for it.  Here is last week’s menu at the cantine (pronounced like canteen):

Tuesday: Lentil salad with shallots, veal “‘paupiette”, rice, cheese, seasonal fruits

A few observations:

  1. Every meal is at least a four course meal
  2. There is emphasis on marrying a variety of tastes, and an obvious effort is put into making the meals wholesome, well-balanced and nutritious
  3. The kids love it even though it’s NOT hot dogs or mac and cheese
  4. This costs only 2.20 Euros per meal (about $3)
  5. The school lunch break is  1 ½  hours long

L was telling me about her lunch on Monday, with a huge smile on her face while rubbing her belly:  “C’était vraiment bon et j’en ai demandé trois fois!” (It was really good and so I asked for three servings!).  Need I say more?

I was listening to a radio interview with a dietitian the other day.  The topic was school canteens, and the quality of the food being served there.

The dietitian on the radio had quite a different perspective than I have.  To start, he was concerned that meal quality was going downhill at an alarming rate, and wanted to petition the local government to tighten the quality standards.  But then, he said something that summarizes it all. “Nutritious food choices and good taste are learned at a young age.  It is therefore important for schools to properly develop children’s taste buds by serving consistently high quality and nutritious meals at the canteen.”

Everyone knows that food is a serious matter in France.  We didn’t realize it would be part of the school curriculum though.

Personally, I wish I could eat at the school canteen myself!

8 Responses to “Lunch: Part of the School Curriculum?”

  1. Martin R. says:

    Ils ont vraiment des menus santé en Europe… du veau, de la volaille… wow…

    Martin R.

  2. Louis Morrissette says:

    That dietitian would have a nervous breakdown in the States… That looks like an awesome menu and I would also be ok with eating there. Plus Garfield is on the menu!! 🙂

  3. Maha says:

    And at a good price, too! Maybe the States should take notes 🙂

  4. JM says:

    Isn’t that great though?

    The best part is I can see the kid’s food habits changing already. They now love goat brie and saucissons sec. They haven’t started drinking wine though… 🙂

  5. Ronen says:

    Hmmm…fromage almost every day…”fromage” must mean “chicken nuggets” in french 😉 Kidding aside, that is seriously admirable!

  6. Bob says:

    I was talking to a French mother here in Sydney last year who was deeply concerned that the primary school would not be providing a 3-course lunch meal for her soon-to-start-school daughter. I told her I would be sending a sandwich lunch in my son’s schoolbag. Cue horrified tone: “But Bob, a sandwich is NOT food!”

  7. […] menu and experiment (and my older daughter is quite good at doing that), and while I agree that kids should be exposed to high-quality, varied food at a young age, sometimes a kids’ menu – or a bowl of Goldfish crackers – can be a lifesaver. […]

  8. Debbie says:

    @Maha – The States should definitely take notes.