Japan and Some Their Tasty School Lunches

I found this article particularly interesting since it goes into some depth on the school lunch system in Japan. From what I remember of grade school lunches, it seems Japan takes nutrition and student education in nutrition a bit more seriously.  Not only does a nutritionist help plan the meals, but the kids help serve the food, therefore becoming part of the process. This process is supposed to help teach children about food, and give them a sense of responsibility. Considering the problem in the U.S. today with childhood obesity, and the controversy over how healthy our public school lunches are, it seems like we could take a cue from Japan in this arena.


The chart below is curtsey of http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/japanese-school-lunch/index.html

U.S., Japanese school lunch menus

A sampling of what elementary-age children typically eat during the week:

United States                                                        Japan

– Submarine sandwich (1 oz. turkey; 0.5 oz. low-fat cheese) on whole-wheat roll
– Refried beans (1/2 cup)
– Jicama (1/4 cup)
– Green pepper strips (1/4 cup)
– Cantaloupe wedges, raw (1/2 cup)
– Skim milk (8 oz.)
– Mustard (9 grams)
– Reduced-fat mayonnaise (1 oz.)
– Low-fat ranch dip (1 oz.)

– Rice mixed with Kiriboshi daikon dried radish strips
– Japanese-style omelet (with sautéed minced chicken and chopped vegetables)
– Ohitashi (boiled Japanese mustard spinach, carrot, hakusai cabbage and other vegetables in dashi soup and soy sauce topped with toasted sesame seeds)
– Miso soup (with wakame seaweed, potato and onion)
– Milk

– Whole-wheat spaghetti with meat sauce (1/2 cup) and whole-wheat roll
– Green beans, cooked (1/2 cup)
– Broccoli (1/2 cup)
– Cauliflower (1/2 cup)
– Kiwi halves, raw (1/2 cup)
– Low-fat (1%) milk (8 oz.)
– Low-fat ranch dip (1 oz.)
– Soft margarine (5 grams)

– Spinach bread
– Fried squid, sweet and spicy peanut soy sauce
– Mixed mashed potato (mashed potato with other boiled vegetables)
– Tofu and egg soup (with bacon and vegetables in chicken broth)
– Milk

– Chef salad (1 cup romaine; 0.5 oz. low-fat mozzarella; 1.5 oz. grilled chicken) with whole-wheat soft pretzel (2.5 oz.)
– Corn, cooked (1/2 cup)
– Baby carrots, raw (1/4 cup)
– Banana
– Skim chocolate milk (8 oz.)
– Low-fat ranch dressing (1.5 oz.)
– Low-fat Italian dressing (1.5 oz.)

– Cream soup spaghetti (with garbanzo beans, shrimp, squid, chicken and vegetables)
– Boiled vegetable salad (lotus root, cucumber, carrot, and ham)
– 1/4 Apple
– Milk

– Oven-baked fish nuggets (2 oz.) with whole-wheat roll
– Mashed potatoes (1/2 cup)
– Steamed broccoli (1/2 cup)
– Peaches (canned, packed in juice, 1/2 cup)
– Skim milk (8 oz.)
– Tartar sauce (1.5 oz.)
– Soft margarine (5 grams)

– Rice with barley
– Grilled salted salmon
– Ohitashi (boiled Japanese mustard spinach, cabbage, carrot)
– Miso soup (leek, wakame seaweed, tofu and potato)
– Flavored dried laver (seaweed)
– Milk

– Whole-wheat cheese pizza (1 slice)
– Baked sweet potato fries (1/2 cup)
– Grape tomatoes, raw (1/4 cup)
– Applesauce (1/2 cup)
– Low-fat (1%) milk (8 oz.)
– Low-fat ranch dip (1 oz.)

– Indian-style spicy chicken curry (carrot, onion and potato)
– Healthy boiled salad (konnyaku—devil’s tongue—noodle, wakame seaweed, carrot, cucumber and cabbage)
– Strawberries (two each)
– Milk

SOURCES: USDA Food and Nutrition Service; Umejima Elementary School, Tokyo. GRAPHIC: The Washington Post. Published 

Bento boxes, a common lunch in Japan, can be found at the Sage Market Place or the Bento Truck on campus Tues-Th





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s