Kids can form better eating habits when schools provide them with healthy food, but unfortunately, not all of these establishments are capable of doing so.
There's a notion that students from the US or the UK usually walk to their cafeteria in disdain while their Asian peers are getting served mouth-wateringly fresh meals.
But is this always the case?
To show you that not everything is black and white, we at Bored Panda put together a list of photos that reveal what schools from all over the world put on their plates. Bon appetit! (Or not.)
My Korean School Lunch Of Udon, Egg And Pork Cutlet Deopbap, And Various Banchan
Here's My Awesome Korean School Lunch! Schools Have A Qualified Nutritionist To Plan The Lunch Menu
We managed to get in touch with a few folks from South Korea, a country that dominates the top of this list, to learn more about their menus.
One of them is Reddit user u/darkrealm190. "My school doesn't really serve one thing the most because they do a super big variety!" they told Bored Panda. "It takes about 2 weeks before something repeats. However, there are some constants, like they always have rice, some soup or stew, and banchan (side dishes in Korean) and [some] protein!"
u/darkrealm190 said the overall quality of the food was good. "It's definitely not bland, extremely healthy, and widely varied."
In fact, they couldn't even think of how the catering could be improved. "It's as good of a school lunch as anyone could need or want," u/darkrealm190 said. "I would also like to add that the lunch is free to all the students!"
My Korean School Lunch Of Crab Soup, Braised Chicken And Potatoes, And Various Banchan
This Is What Swedish School Lunch Looks Like
The other Redditor we talked to was u/StiffCrustySock and they gave us a similar description. "There is (almost) always rice, kimchi, and some kind of soup. Then, a Korean-style protein of some kind, most often pork-based ... [but we also sometimes have] 'Western-style' foods like burritos, a slice of pizza, spaghetti and sauce, etc," they told Bored Panda. "There will usually be a fruit of some kind as well."
"Overall, the school's food is excellent, I enjoy about 95% of it. And compared to other schools around the world I've seen, I'm glad to have this quality lunch."
However, u/StiffCrustySock would like a small change. "[They could] probably reduce the salt content and aim for less carbohydrates in each meal. Otherwise [everything's] pretty healthy."
The Redditor also suggested giving Korea's kitchen a go if you find yourself drooling over their pictures. "Everyone should try Korean food if they get the chance. The flavors are excellent."
Today Was Veggie Burger And Sweet Potato Fries For Lunch In The School's Cafeteria In Germany
You could make a case that the quality of school food somewhat correlates with kids' health. In the United States, for example, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s and in 2017–2018, an estimated 19.3% of those aged 2 to 19 years were obese.
The CDC said that a comprehensive approach is needed to address this issue in schools, especially for elementary and middle school students. Scientists know less about what school-based obesity prevention approaches are effective for teens.
The term 'comprehensive approach' means directing attention to nutrition and physical activity in schools and involving school nurses, parents, caregivers, and other community members (like pediatricians and after-school program providers) in the process. But we are yet to see any meaningful results.