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Sweetgreen is a chain of salad restaurants with locations around the U.S. They also run a program called Sweetgreen in Schools, which focuses on teaching kids and administrators about healthy eating habits, as well as fitness and sustainability. It”s no secret that schools often lack a great selection of fresh or healthy foods to nourish growing minds and bodies. Is such a thing normal, or are we just being too picky?

The photos below show an average school lunch in other areas of the world (mainly from Europe). They also show what kids eat during the school day, and how the average meal in a U.S. school measures up.

France

France

Steak, carrots, green beans, cheese, and fruit.

South Korea

South Korea

Fish soup, tofu with rice, broccoli, peppers, and kimchi.

Finland

Finland

Pea soup, beet salad, carrots, and bread. For dessert, there”s fresh fruit and pannakkau, a type of dessert pancake.

Italy

Italy

Local fish with arugula, pasta, caprese salad, bread, and grapes.

Spain

Spain

Shrimp with brown rice, gazpacho, bread, peppers, and an orange.

Brazil

Brazil

Pork with vegetables, rice with black beans, salad, bread, and baked plantains.

Ukraine

Ukraine

Sausage with mashed potatoes, borscht, cabbage, and syrniki (a dessert pancake).

Greece

Greece

Baked chicken with orzo, stuffed grape leaves, cucumber and tomato salad, yogurt with pomegranate seeds, and oranges.

As you can see, the above meals feature a large variety of foods, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruit. Let”s see how the U.S. measures up.

U.S.A.

U.S.A.

Fried popcorn chicken with ketchup, mashed potatoes, peas, fruit cup, and a chocolate chip cookie.

(via MyModernMet)

If this looks comparatively lackluster, you”re right. To be completely honest, many U.S. school meals aren”t even this nice; some skip fruits and vegetables altogether. In the U.S., 32 million children get their lunches from a school cafeteria, and most of those students get more than half their daily calories at school. In the struggle to keep kids healthy and active, school lunches have a big opportunity, maybe even a responsibility, to offer healthy options for kids.

You can check out more of the Sweetgreen in Schools initiative online. You can also keep up with the latest information on the company”s site and Tumblr pages.

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