Content sponsored by Teuko, the online community for families who pack lunch. Teuko makes lunch packing social, simple and fun. MerciSF is not responsible for the advice provided in this article.
Lunches served to the kids in French schools make parents envious all over the world. But what exactly makes these lunch menus so popular?
While traveling around the world investigating school lunches, we looked into the basics of lunchtime in France.
Today we decided to go deeper into the specificities of the French school menus that we can easily apply to our lunch packing routine!
See What French Schoolchildren Eat For Lunch. (Menus Paris 15)
1. Start with the main course
Kids who eat at French school, get a menu as if they were in a restaurant. The menu includes most of the time, an appetizer, a main course, some “cheese”, and a dessert. The main course is the most important part of the meal, with vegetables, proteins (meat, fish, eggs, beans, or lentils), and cereals.
Our first advice when thinking your next menu is to start with the selection of proteins you want to include: fish, meat, vegetable proteins?
Then, what cereals would pair well with these proteins? Here are for you some combinations founded in French school menus.
Note that if you don’t want any cereal in your main course, you can always add some bread to your menu, as you can see it in a lot of French School Menus available on Teuko.com.
Last but not least, what vegetable(s) would match your proteins choices?
This looks like a difficult question only a chef would be able to answer but, let’s have a look into safe food combinations made in French school lunch menus.
2. Add an appetizer aka a side
An appetizer is most of the time what restaurants call “sides” in the US. So just add extra raw veggies or fruits to complete your food groups, and you’re all set! See below examples of food that you can find as a side in French school menus.
During winter, kids can be served a soup as an appetizer: leek soup, carrot soup, pumpkin soup, mushroom soup…
3. Don’t forget the cheese!
One of the most loved French cartoon characters are Astérix and Obélix, and in the movie “Astérix and Cléopâtre”, there is a song that sums it up…
– “A good meal without cheese, It’s a beast that only has one eye,
– It’s a bird without feathers, It’s a forest without squirrel…”
Extract “Astérix and Cléopâtre” Movie
So, if you want to pack lunch the French way… don’t forget the cheese!
What if your kids are not into cheese? You can always switch to a yogurt to make sure to pack all the calcium they need to grow strong. Pick fruity yogurt, or just plain yogurt and add yourself some fresh fruits… yum!
4. Icing on the cake… or not
Fruits lead us to the last part of a French meal: the dessert!
What’s interesting when looking at all the school menus demystified in Teuko.com is that the desserts served to the French kids are mostly fruits in season!
Only from time to time, they get sweet treats like cakes, pies, cookies… You can make it simple by adding one chocolate chip cookie or a mini donut. French schools allow “beignet” sometime: a beignet is like a donut filled with applesauce, jam, vanilla or chocolate cream! So why wouldn’t you dare?
Full Teuko guide to the 5 food groups in this blog post
5. What about the drink?
Water is the only drink served to the French school children nowadays. It has not always been the case.
Indeed, in 1956, the French government required that no wine would be served to the kids under the age of 14 y/o! And it’s only in 1981 that the law was extended up to the kids in high school.
Play with plain water, sparkling water, or just add some slices of lemon in tap water… and voilà! Your lunchbox is finally complete… the French way.
How inspiring are French School menu to you? Show us what you will pack by uploading a picture on Teuko.com!