97 Photos Of School Lunches Around The World Show What Countries Prioritize In Nutrition (New Pics)

School lunch is an important part of the students’ day. It provides a much-needed break from the classroom and an opportunity to refuel. However, the quality and variety of the menu can vary greatly depending on which part of the globe we look at.

Some schools, for example, have been trying to improve the nutritional value of their lunches by adding more fruits and veggies, reducing the amount of processed foods, and offering options for eaters with dietary restrictions. These efforts can help to ensure that students are getting what they need to stay active and focused.

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On the other hand, some schools still serve meals that are high in fat, sugar, and sodium, which can contribute to obesity and other health problems.

So to see who is on the right track and who is lagging, we at Bored Panda decided to expand on our previous publication on school lunches from around the world and put together a new collection of pictures that vividly illustrate the situation, courtesy of the subreddit r/pics. Enjoy!

#1 Free School Lunch In Stockholm, Sweden

Image credits: Cool_Kalkon

One of the hottest pictures on this list comes from Stockholm, Sweden. The Redditor who posted it, Cool_Kalkon, told Bored Panda that their school usually serves different types of stews, complimenting it with chicken or beef, but there are vegetarian options, too.

“The quality [of our lunch] is really good considering the budget they have,” Cool_Kalkon explained to us. “The food is always healthy and mostly cooked from raw ingredients in school. They even got a vegetarian alternative every day, and a salad bar.”

#2 Chilbo High School Lunch (Free – South Korea)

Image credits: inlgyment

#3 An Example Of A Swedish (Free) School Lunch. Fried Salmon, Fried Potatoes In Herbs, Honey Roasted Vegetables With Chèvre

Image credits: Svenmpa

Cool_Kalkon said they don’t know how the lunches could be improved because they’re satisfied with the food. But if they were to come up with something, they would probably “cut down on the number of stews and have a bit more variety in the menu.”

However, the Redditor pointed out that their picture doesn’t represent the whole country of Sweden. “There are schools with much worse food, and also schools with much better,” they said. “But, all in all, I think it’s fantastic that we are able to get a healthy meal on our plate every day without having to pay.”

#4 $3 School Lunch: North Georgia

Image credits: merc123

#5 School Lunch In South Korea

Image credits: ipresnel

#6 School Lunch In California (Free)

Image credits: bestoblivion

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Turning to the other side of the globe, we have another Redditor, Sjbfujcfjm. Representing the city of Takatsuki in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

Their picture reveals what the country’s younger kids (2-6 years old) are having. A staff member at White Rose Kindergarten, Sjbfujcfjm told Bored Panda that, “Daily lunches usually consist of a portion of meat (fish being a popular option), a vegetable, rice, soup and something sweet like an apple or orange slice or fruit jelly.”

#7 School Lunch Oregon ~free

Image credits: Moist-Intention844

#8 My Korean School Lunch! Pork Cutlet, Blood Sausage Soup, And Assorted Banchan

Image credits: darkrealm190

#9 Australian School Lunch

Image credits: mannyrmz123

“The quality is quite good,” the Redditor added. “All of the teachers have the option to eat the school lunch, and we do each day. We have a chef and his crew of 4-5 come in daily to prepare the meals. A few times a month they prepare a special lunch featuring foods from a specific region of Japan.”

However, they would like to see more meals featuring food from other countries. “We sometimes have dishes or sides from China or Korea. But I’d like to see a wider variety,” Sjbfujcfjm said.

#10 New York City School Lunch

Image credits: BrighterGreen

#11 My Korean School Lunch!! Free For All Students

Image credits: darkrealm190

#12 Looks Like School Lunches Are Making The Rounds Here Again: United States, Public Middle School

Image credits: bibliophile222

#13 Pics From Some Schools In Korea Known For Having Best School Lunches

Image credits: bvmmi1le

To contextualize these pictures, we can take a look at the 2021 study by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation that looked into the “food basket” — a fundamental element of any school meal program — of 139 countries.

Grains/cereals were the most common food category (served in 87% of programs), followed by oil (78%) and legumes (75%). Fruits and vegetables (63-65%) were less common, and animal-source foods were served least often—though there was a high degree of variation across income groups. Poultry, for example, was served in 69% of programs in high-income settings but just 5% of programs in low-income settings.

#14 Typical School Lunch In South Korea

Image credits: seacobs

#15 School Lunch In Thailand, 25 Baht. About .75 USD

Image credits: PinkKnapsack

#16 School Lunch For Elementary Kids In Korea

Image credits: asiawide

#17 School Lunch At A Kindergarten In Japan (Bonus Bentos)

Image credits: sjbfujcfjm

The gap was even larger for fruits, which were served in 97% and 22.5% of programs in high- and low-income settings, respectively—a difference of 74.5 percentage points.

In high-income settings, children received an average of 8.3 different food categories, while this value dropped to 7.1, 6.5, and 5.2 in upper middle-income, lower middle-income, and low-income settings, respectively. Across regions, this value was greatest in South Asia/East Asia/Pacific and least in Sub-Saharan Africa.

#18 School Lunch From My Country. Where Am I? What Do Kids Eat Where You Are?

Image credits: Phylanara

#19 My Korean School Lunch (That Students Get For Free)! Beef Noodle Soup And Various Banchan!

Image credits: darkrealm190

#20 School Lunch In Japan. The Christmas Edition

Image credits: Hahnter

#21 Free School Lunch UK

Image credits: GDTango

Across all regions and income groups, market purchases were the most common method through which school meal programs procured food.

These purchases primarily occurred in domestic markets, though 38% of programs purchased at least some food from foreign countries. In-kind contributions from foreign and domestic settings were much less common at 23% and 21%, respectively, and were primarily reported by programs operating in low-income and lower-middle income countries.

#22 Chinese Elementary/Primary School Lunches

Image credits: iwazaruu

#23 School Lunch In Denmark

Image credits: SpoochDK

#24 I See Your School Lunch And I Raise You A Dinner On A Us Navy Ship

Image credits: koolturkey

#25 Vermont School Lunch

Image credits: veggycat

Because of this, after inflation popped in 2022 to a level unseen in decades, many of the schools are now forced to spend way more to feed their students.

In the US, for example, the price of a meal at elementary and secondary schools spiked by a whopping 305%.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine created an energy supply shock, contributing to higher transport costs to deliver food from farm to table. That combined with other factors such as higher labor costs underpin fast-rising prices throughout the food complex.

#26 My Korean School Lunch! Handmade Duck Steaks, Beef And Radish Soup, And Assorted Banchan

Image credits: darkrealm190

#27 School Lunch In Okayama Prefecture, Japan

Image credits: seacobs

#28 So This Is What An Average School Lunch Looks Like For High Schoolers In Germany

Image credits: ScoochMagooch

#29 Typical School Lunch In South Korea

Image credits: reddit.com

The industry is really interdependent too. For instance, global shocks in major markets for vegetable oil — a key ingredient in margarine — drove margarine prices up by 43.8% in 2022.

Prices for commodities such as soybean, palm, sunflower, and rapeseed (also known as canola) oil tend to move together — meaning a supply disruption for one tends to affect the whole group.

Hopefully, everything gets better in the near future.

#30 What A Week Of (Free) School Lunches Look Like In Thailand [oc]

Image credits: UnlikelyFix

#31 Lunch + Breakfast At My School. (Seasia– Seriously, Wtf Is Going Wrong With American School Lunch)

Image credits: voidmusik

#32 School Lunch In America Since We’re Posting School Lunches

Image credits: saphiresgirl

#33 Have Seen A Few Of These Today, Here Is My American School Lunch

Image credits: SURTUPPETS

#34 Elementary School Lunch In South Korea

Image credits: Seanathon23

#35 Elementary School Lunch Japan


#36 I See Your Finnish School Lunch And Raise You My South Korean School Lunch

Image credits: JingleJohnJacob

#37 NYC Middle School Lunch

Image credits: geo9k

#38 School Lunch: Pork Roll Egg N Cheese, Potataos, Lima Beans, Mozzarella Salad, Zeppoles. All For $3

Image credits: eddiedickson

#39 Are We Still Doing School Lunches?

Image credits: ilovemycat2018

#40 A Single Cauliflower In A Single Use Plastic Wrap From A School Lunch

Image credits: McNoobens

#41 American High School Lunch (Oc)

Image credits: AsianNoodL

#42 This Is A Local School Lunch That A School In The Us Served

Image credits: Bank_Gothic

#43 Public School Lunch In Mn

Image credits: slpfeife9651

#44 Now, If You Had This For School Lunch, It Was A Peak Lunch Day

Image credits: barista91

#45 School Lunches Today. Middle School & High School-Frisco, Texas

Image credits: reddit.com

#46 Our School Lunch Today

Image credits: vavasmusic

#47 High School Lunch In Maine

Image credits: mainthorn

#48 School Lunch At My Middle School (It Was Bad)

Image credits: Minimizing_merchant

#49 I See Your Korean Private School Lunches And Give You Maryland Public School Lunch

Image credits: Trhodes009

#50 I Guess We Are Doing School Lunches Now, So Here Is Some Green Ham At My School

Image credits: idoacube

#51 This Was My Lunch At An American School Since We’re Doing Photos Of School Lunches Now

Image credits: dylan000o

#52 Korean School Lunch Workers Went On A Strike – Served Bread & Milk To Kids – Accused Of Child Abuse

Image credits: dl1ehingvel

#53 Middle School Lunch (Hawaii)

Image credits: LynnsFriedRice

#54 School Lunch In Elementary School In USA

Image credits: snorkelpug

#55 Saw Someone Post Their School Lunch So I Thought I’d Share Mine… Nc United States

Image credits: RaidenFanClub

#56 A School Lunch In America And Yes The Pizza Is Cold And The Crust Is Stale

Image credits: TheRealMcHamr

#57 School Lunch In Folsom, Ca (Free)

Image credits: TurkeyLuver

#58 School Lunch From West Virginia

Image credits: standoffston2

#59 I See Your Beautiful, Healthy, Free Korean School Lunch And Raise You….america

Image credits: saficat6

#60 My Wife Forgot Her Lunch Today. The School Cafeteria Kindly Gave Her, A Teacher, A School Lunch

Image credits: FireBetAlwaysWorking

#61 My Real School Lunch In California (Free)

Image credits: Letsgothrifty

#62 My School Lunch [oc]

Image credits: undertaler64

#63 School Lunch At Public High School, Florida

Image credits: GORGOSSSS

#64 Grilled Cheese For School Lunch (So Delicious)

Image credits: The_Cometeer

#65 Average American School Lunch 2022…

Image credits: navibab

#66 Us School Lunch, Not Bad But Its All I Eat From 6:30am To 6pm. Less Than 300 Calories

Image credits: therealman-io

#67 My School Lunch Patty Doesn’t Fit The Bread. Pathetic? Or Am I Just Spoiled

Image credits: TylerTerrify

#68 Actual School Lunch 2020

Image credits: OMGLMAOWTF_com

#69 School Lunch, Here In Good Ol Us-Of-A

Image credits: hayjaybirk

#70 I See Your Finnish, And Swedish School Lunch, And I Raise You Our USA School Lunch

Image credits: ewwsusie

#71 Late To The Party But Here Is My Son’s School Lunch

Image credits: kfmf636

#72 This Was Today’s NYC Public School Lunch

Image credits: Rococococococo

#73 My School Lunch

Image credits: wdqian05

#74 Us Public School Lunch (Florida)

Image credits: Superluigibros84

#75 Maryland Public School Lunch

Image credits: SenpaiDextra

#76 School Lunch, Free In California (Not Pictured, A Red Apple)

Image credits: ballerscholar

#77 Depressing School Lunch

Image credits: wazman2222

#78 Daughters Middle School Lunch

Image credits: Julian_c_1989

#79 School Lunch Romania

Image credits: onestepfwd

#80 Elementary School Lunch In Socal Day 2

Image credits: poofacemcguillicutty

#81 I Sww Other Users Sharing Their School Lunches. Here’s Mine. [oc]

Image credits: reddit.com

#82 Since We Are Sharing School Lunches And Navy Trays, I Thought I’d Share A Nice Hot Army Dinner

Image credits: zombreeseagull

#83 Saw A Pic Of School Lunch, Here’s Mine, A Bag Of Chips With Non Melted Cheese

Image credits: Monkey_Bingo

#84 I See Your School Lunches And Raise You To A Different American School Lunch

Image credits: mine248

#85 School Lunch

Image credits: yxgnorme

#86 School Lunches? Here’s My My Kids Get At High School

Image credits: RockRoomCV

#87 Typical (Free) School Lunches Of My Son In One Of The Best Public School Districts In The USA

Image credits: putzl

#88 I See All Of Your International Lunches And Raise You A Georgian School Lunch. ‘Merica

Image credits: siimonixx

#89 A Public School Lunch In Ohio

Image credits: DaGutie44

#90 My School Lunch Today In The U.S. (Florida)

Image credits: Obamathirdcousin

#91 School Lunch At My High School In Mid-Western America (Free)

Image credits: PegAkira

#92 Since We’re Posting School Lunch Now, Here Y’all Go:

Image credits: InderYT

#93 My School Lunch

Image credits: Arexoodo

#94 Elementary School Lunch In Affluent School District In Southern California

Image credits: poofacemcguillicutty

#95 This Is Supposed To Be An Acceptable School Lunch In Upstate New York

Image credits: Octizzle

#96 My School Lunch

Image credits: AngeryZach

#97 #thanksmichelleobama For My School Lunch

Image credits: reddit.com

Source: boredpanda.com

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