School lunches in the U.S. have just gotten a wake-up call: a series of images created by a New York-based healthy café chain, Sweetgreen, captured images of typical school lunches in the U.S. and eight other countries, and posted the images side-by-side on their website.
Other countries included Italy, Finland, France, Brazil, South Korea, Greece, the Ukraine and Spain.
The result: a visual snapshot of what many domestic school lunches contain, showing that ingredients lack fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains compared to school lunches in other countries.
Sweetgreen—which uses local, organic ingredients emphasizing fresh produce and whole grains—simulated what each country’s typical school lunch would look like in identical cardboard-style lunch trays, and described the ingredients in each one.
A typical school lunch in the U.S. contains fried “popcorn” chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, pre-packaged fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie. By comparison, a school lunch typically contains sautéed shrimp over brown rice and vegetables, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread and an orange in Spain; baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salad, fresh oranges, and Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds in Greece; and fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi and fresh veggies on South Korea.
Which lunch would you prefer your kids eating at school?
Obviously not all schools in the U.S. serve unhealthy meals. Just last week it was announced that James Cameron is behind the launch of America’s first vegan school and Chef Tony Geraci has been working to make school lunches healthier in the Baltimore public school, as well as many other national programs.
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