How 8 school lunches from around the world compare to those served in the US

It’s estimated that 30.6 million students in the US get their lunches in the school cafeteria versus bringing it from home. And that’s a problem: It’s been found that students who eat school lunches are at a higher risk for being an unhealthy weight.

While new standards are in place, schools have had a difficult time putting the guidelines to use.

These problems drove Sweetgreen, the rapidly growing chain of salad restaurants that’s making a quite a buzz, to start its Sweetgreen in Schools initiative. “School cafeterias are one of the biggest areas of opportunity that exist in the battle against childhood obesity,” the group said.

To get a better sense of how unhealthy food given to US schoolchildren really is, Sweetgreen researched what a school lunch looked like in eight other countries. The differences will surprise you.

US: fried popcorn chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup, chocolate-chip cookie

France: steak, carrots, green beans, cheese, fresh fruit

Ukraine: mashed potatoes with sausage, borscht, cabbage, syrniki (dessert pancake)

Spain: sautéed shrimp, brown rice, veggies, gazpacho, fresh peppers, bread, orange

Italy: fish on arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette, grapes

Finland: pea soup, beets, carrot salad, bread, pannakkau (dessert pancake), fresh berries

Brazil: pork with mixed veggies, black beans and rice, salad, bread, baked plantains

South Korea: fish soup, tofu over rice, kimchi, fresh veggies

Greece: baked chicken over orzo, stuffed grape leaves, tomato-and-cucumber salad, fresh oranges, yogurt with pomegranate seeds

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