Taking the world less travelled

School Lunches – Australia, Japan, America

Posted by on Oct 13, 2010 in Life | 0 comments

The week has rolled around quickly, the way that life sometimes does.
Job interviews: 3
Jobs I have: 0

I have been watching Jamie Oliver try to revolutionise school lunches in American schools.

In Australia it was totally different for me. My mother would pack my lunch each day. It was often a sandwich, apple, and a packet of chips. Once a week mum would give me money to buy something from the tuckshop (from the word tucker, an Australia word to mean food). This is when I would have something like chicken nuggets or a chicken burger or something like this for lunch. So for me lunch was something I liked, a bit healthy but some treats too. Maybe not 100% healthy but I am seeing now that it was healthier than what a lot of others eat…

In Japan it was my first time eating provided lunch. It didn’t mesh well with me. Now that I’m not eating it I think back on it more fondly than what I did at the time. You can see an example of what kids in Japanese schools eat here, and I have more photos to come.

My major gripes with it was: lots of seafood. Lots of deep fried food. Large quantities of food. And I think overall it just didn’t mesh well with me somehow deep inside of not having the choice to eat what I wanted. I can definitely see the value in making children clean their plate. But as an adult it doesn’t mesh well with me. Plus, never having being in a situation like that, maybe that had something to do with it.

Watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was an eye opener. Wowsers. Pizza for breakfast every day? Then nuggets for lunch? Flavoured milk every day? Then, not forcing the kids to finish their meals? Wowsers. I’m just speechless.

One thing that’s telling, perhaps, is the amount of fat kids in the Japanese schools. My data may be skewed – I was working only in small schools in the country. Still, it was similar to what I experienced when I was at school… the token fat kid. Where as there was one or two fat children per grade when I was at school, there was one fat kid per school in my experience in Japan. And zero obese kids.

A thing that really struck me, in the video above was how the kids did not know their vegetables at all. At their age I didn’t know strange fruits and veges, and didn’t really know them until I worked with produce. But I knew what a tomato was even if I didn’t like them. It would have been really tough to teach in Japan if kids didn’t know what fruit and veges were in their own language, let me tell you that.

In other food related news, I want to eat healthy, fresh, unprocessed food as much as possible. But I enjoy food, and love trying new things. Last week the local Brisbane radio station “invented” a new burger at McDonalds and it went on sale at local restaurants for one day only. I believe it was called a Chick-cow burger.

It was lettuce, tomato, cheese, chicken fillet, beef patty, and tomato sauce. Apart from getting gipped on the lettuce, it was really yum. Plus no pickles to take off.

McDonalds is OK as a sometimes food but it turns to cardboard if you eat it too often. I have found I can keep my weight off, even still lose weight if I am conscious of what I’m eating, eat smaller portions, but still indulge in unhealthier foods from time to time. It really is about balance after all.


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