Jan 13, 2018

A look at the school lunches in Japan

My children's nutrition is often at the forefront of my thoughts. Raising two stepchildren who, until I came along, were allowed to eat chocolate and call it a meal, I struggle with teaching them what proper nutrition is.

I wasn't raised on a proper diet either, though. I mean, I had the food pyramid. I knew to limit the amount of snacks, chips, cakes, cookies I would eat. However, coming into adulthood, I made a major life change by studying and researching about nutrition and what the body needs to be strong and function properly. Now I seem to be in a battle with my children's needs more than my own. What is nice is having the school lunches here in Japan work in my favor to get my girls to eat what they need.

Every month we are provided with a calendar of the upcoming school lunches.

Each meal at the school has the main ingredients listed and is then broken down into three categories

Red - This is the protein and amino acid group. That means meats, beans and other protein-rich foods are listed here.

Green - This is the vitamin and mineral rich food group; vegetables of all sorts.

Yellow - This is the carbohydrates and fats group. So, bread, rice pasta and then oils and mayonnaise are listed here.

There is also a category for extra things such as salt and pepper, soy sauce etc.

This is incredibly useful because I can plan our dinners making sure that my girls aren't eating the same thing that they just had for lunch in school. Also, it shows how well thought out the school meals are.

The estimated calorie count is also listed. The above number is for elementary school children and the lower number is for junior highschool. Often, the calories are extremely high for just one meal, but children need that when they play outside. Junior high students need it even more so if they are part of an club that makes them active.

Little spoons are there, letting me know I need to remind my girls to wash their spoons because the lunch required them. There is also an asterisk where new menu items are added.

My girls never seem to complain about the taste or that they hate anything (except the milk) and I know they've eaten it all because they write about what they have left over in their renrakucho (correspondence notebooks).

I never need to worry about them getting what they need during lunch. And whatever they happen to eat when they aren't here and are spending the weekend with their mother can be overlooked when during the week they are eating so well



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too