Do you sometimes worry that the children who attend your school have little sense of what life is like outside the US? One of the best ways to teach kids about other cultures is through food. Why not try theme meals once every week or two to introduce new foods? Serve food from these four countries, for example, and integrate lessons about cuisine with geography, language, and social studies.
Japan is known for having a healthy diet, which could benefit many American children. A typical Japanese lunch might consist of miso broth, rice, and vegetables, along with some fish. This is an ideal way to teach about life in an island nation and how the ocean influences so much of the culture there.
Another fun Japanese lunch tradition is the bento box. Kids love sampling foods in little compartments, and it's the perfect way to get them to at least try something completely new to them.
Many people in India follow a vegetarian diet, so offering fare without meat or animal products may be a nice change for vegetarian kids in your school. Because they don't contain meat, vegetarian meals are a great way to get kids to eat more vegetables and fiber. A chana masala, for example, provides protein through garbanzo beans and can be prepared in a variety of ways to match ingredients available to you and the palates of your students.
Did you know that vending machines are not legally allowed in French schools, in an effort to fight obesity and diabetes? If you're trying to make a move away from junk food at your school, talking about French lunches would be a good intro.
French kids, no surprise, typically have sophisticated palates. A common lunch would be chicken in sauce with potatoes, salad, bread, and a little cheese. A small dessert is included, but without soda and other high-sugar, high-fat foods in their diets, this isn't excessive for French children.
Brazilian culture is a hot topic today with the Rio Olympic Games. Brazil is another country that limits the amount of sweets their kids consume. Lunch there usually offers fresh tropical fruit, along with meat, beans, rice, and bread.
A diet that almost always serves rice and beans, even as a side dish, is nice for vegetarians, who will always get a source of protein this way. If you opt for "Brazil Day" at your school, you'll know that every child will have healthy choices they'll enjoy.
For more information, contact New Horizon Foods or a similar company.