In another tale of how American school cafeteria lunches are the absolute worst, here is a side-by-side comparison of what kids in different countries get at lunchtime.

Unsurprisingly, the US trays looks like little floating, lifeless turds in a sea of gray. Ok, maybe that is a little harsh, but if the most visually appealing foods these little kiddies are being fed are peas then there is really (probably, definitely) something really wrong with what we are feeding our children. OK, not my children because I don’t have any, but your children (if you decided to spawn).

To highly contrast the lifeless, colorless U.S. meal, there is Italy’s vibrant dish filled with greens, pasta, a real protein (that was probably once a real animal and not a Franken-animal), and some fruit as a sweet and satisfying dessert. You’ve also got Brazil’s signature rice and beans, Greece’s mixed orzo, South Korea’s kmchi stir fry and Finland’s vibrant array of veggies, soup and a crepe.

While it’s hardly news that we lose in the “delicious student lunch” category, the only other country that might be able to rival our low ranks would be Ukraine – with three sad sausages lying atop a weirdly stiff looking pile of mash, next to an equally morose-looking cole slaw…

But anyways, who knows?! Maybe the dish is actually super delicious! All I know (from unfortunate personal experience) is that the American lunch is less than appetizing. I mean… Yes, chicken nuggets used to be kinda fun and a chocolate chip cookie is always exciting, but more often than not, these options were relatively tasteless – not to mention, totally lacking nutrients, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

Luckily, 12-year-old Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne noticed this debacle. With the help of her dad and the healthy salad chain, Sweetgreen, she was able to release these photographic comparisons and subsequent inequalities. See more info about the project here.

Now, take a gander at the lunches below and see for yourself which ones pique your interest the most. Frankly, we’re stuck.

school lunches around the world italy

school lunches around the world usa

school lunches around the world brazil

school lunches around the world greece

school lunches around the world ukraine

school lunches around the world spain

school lunches around the world france

school lunches around the world south korea

school lunches around the world finland


Which of these school lunches looked most appetizing to you?