Kyushoku: Delicious School Lunch

Japanese school lunch (Kyushoku) is a completely different world than the cafeteria lunches seen in the U.S.A..  Growing up a bagged lunch kid, I don't have an intimate knowledge of the food, but it was from what I'd call well planned or good.

Here in Japan the meals are extensively planned, balanced and, best of all, I love it.  There have only been a handful of time where I did not enjoy my lunch, but even then, there's always one kid in the class who absolutely loves it and will gladly add yours to his mountain hawked off other kids.

99% of students at junior high school eat school lunch, a pretty solid testimony to both its nutritional value for parents and its taste for the kids.  The menu is planned out in advanced by dietitians and is extremely balanced.  Almost every meal has a starch (bread, rice or noodles), a protein (fish or chicken), "greens" as my southern family may call them (vegetables), a sweet (often fruit, sometimes pudding, jelly or some topping for the rice, all with a cold milk carton to go along with it.  In addition to all that, as a teacher I get some green tea too.

Each classroom has a printout of the upcoming lunch schedule (typically monthly) telling them what that food is going to be as well as the caloric, protein and fat content of the food (it averages to about 800 calories per meal).

The food itself is really varied.  I've had curry, udon, Italian (udon with meat sauce and a side of salad with Italian dressing, to be fair), clam chowder and tons more.  There's also a lot of Japanese foods, obviously.  I feel that it's a pretty good sample of what a typical Japanese person eats at home.  Lots of fish, rice and miso soup.

I took photos of three weeks of school lunches to check them out click "Read More".