The Truth Behind The American Vs Japanese School Lunch Comparison

This video comparing American vs Japanese school lunch, really upsets me. It is clearly bias, with it’s sole motive being to shame US food habits.

From an insider living and working in Japan, let me tell you, drinking dairy milk every single day, is not good for anyone’s health. The big white bread roll seen on the Japanese lunch tray, is full of sugar and perservatives and tastes more like a cake than a bread. In fact, brown bread or multi-grain bread here is almost non-existent and only sold at speciality bakeries – definitely not traditional Japanese ones. Moreover, the THREE schools I teach at, have a no fresh-food rule as in the past apparently one child died from eating a rotten fresh cucumber. So, in my schools everything is either fried or pickled. And the meat is almost always processed in the form of patties and sausages.

Yes, occasionally there will be a healthy soup or a healthy fish dish on the lunch tray, but that is not everyday. What’s more, whale is sometimes served as apparently it is Japanese “tradition”. Please don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Last week in our cooking class, my students learnt how to make fried donuts (fried, in buckets of oil), the week before, Japanese red bean paste sweets laden with sugar and before that, yaki soba, fried noodles with processed meat and sauce from the supermarket.

In all fairness, I have never been to America so I cannot comment on their lunch system…
All I’m saying is that every story has two sides to it.


    1. Yes, it’s the same in NZ where my sister is an elementary teacher.. food provided by parents range from super healthy to super unhealthy but with this specific video..I wanted to mention that the Japanese school lunch isn’t as healthy as this video makes it seem! There are A LOT of processed foods in Japan and a lot of food flavoured with salt and sugar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw another video yesterday touting a supplement that included green tea extract,among others, that included the information that Japan was at the very bottom in obesity rating. But it sounds like that will be changing because they are beginning to process more and more foods.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes but that won’t be the case for the next generation if things stay this way! Also, I believe it has a lot to do with genetics and portion size.. so they may be eating unhealthy but they are eating small amounts of it.


  1. Things are tough in the US as well. Eating healthy foods might seem easier here because they are widely available but they are more expensive. Many people hit up fast food not because of its convenience but because of its affordability.

    School lunches here run the spectrum as well. There are healthy option like salads and veggies and there are pizzas (the sauce counts as a vegetable) and hot-dishes, processed meats (I ate a lot of chicken patties in high school) or pastas with heavy and rich meat sauces. Here in New Mexico we even serve Frito pie. It’s a thing here in NM and we got all upset when Anthony Bourdain dissed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the school lunches kind of summarize Japanese eating habits in general as well.
    I always miss real bread and real meat whenever I’m in Japan! And the prices for fruit are way too high! :(

    Liked by 1 person

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