High School Lunches Around The World

As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” This is especially true for high school students, who rely on nutritious meals to fuel their growing bodies and minds. But what does a high school lunch look like around the world? From sushi in Japan to poutine in Canada, school lunches vary widely depending on culture, tradition, and local ingredients. 

In this article, we’ll take a virtual tour of high school lunches around the world, exploring the unique flavors and traditions of different countries. Whether you’re a foodie, a student, or simply curious about the world, join us as we discover the delicious and diverse world of high school lunches!

High school lunches in different countries


  1. Margherita Pizza: A classic Italian pizza made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil on top of a thin crust.
  2. Arancini: Fried rice balls made with risotto, stuffed with cheese, meat, or vegetables.
  3. Pasta with Tomato Sauce: A simple dish of pasta served with a rich tomato sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Caprese Salad: A refreshing salad made with fresh mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes, and basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil.
  5. Tiramisu: A popular Italian dessert made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder.
High school lunches in Italy


  1. Bento Box: A lunch box containing rice, fish, meat, and vegetables, usually arranged in a visually appealing way.
  2. Onigiri: A rice ball filled with pickled plum, tuna, or other fillings, often wrapped in nori seaweed.
  3. Ramen: A hearty soup consisting of wheat noodles, broth, meat, and vegetables.
  4. Tempura: Deep-fried seafood or vegetables coated in a light batter.
  5. Sushi: A dish of bite-sized pieces of vinegared rice topped with raw fish or seafood, or vegetables.


  1. Tacos: Corn or flour tortillas filled with meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and salsa.
  2. Quesadillas: Tortillas filled with melted cheese, often with added meat or vegetables.
  3. Enchiladas: Rolled tortillas filled with meat or cheese, covered in a chili sauce, and melted cheese.
  4. Chiles Rellenos: Large peppers stuffed with cheese, meat, or vegetables, then fried or baked.
  5. Tamales: A steamed dish made of masa (corn dough) filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, often wrapped in corn husks.
High school lunches in Mexico


  1. Pad Thai: A stir-fried noodle dish made with rice noodles, eggs, tofu, shrimp, peanuts, and vegetables, flavored with tamarind and fish sauce.
  2. Tom Yum Soup: A spicy and sour soup made with shrimp or chicken, lemongrass, chili peppers, and lime juice.
  3. Green Curry: A spicy and creamy curry made with coconut milk, green chili peppers, and meat or vegetables.
  4. Som Tam: A spicy salad made with green papaya, tomatoes, carrots, and peanuts, flavored with lime juice and fish sauce.
  5. Sticky Rice with Mango: A sweet dessert made with glutinous rice and fresh mango slices, topped with coconut cream.


  1. Chana Masala: A spicy and flavorful curry made with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and a blend of spices.
  2. Palak Paneer: A creamy spinach curry with chunks of paneer cheese.
  3. Samosas: Crispy fried pastry pockets filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat or cheese.
  4. Tandoori Chicken: Chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, then cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor.
  5. Mango Lassi: A sweet and refreshing yogurt-based drink blended with fresh mango.
High school lunches in India


  1. Greek Salad: A fresh and healthy salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and olives, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
  2. Gyro: Grilled meat (usually lamb, chicken, or pork) wrapped in a pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.
  3. Spanakopita: A savory pastry made with phyllo dough, spinach, and feta cheese.
  4. Moussaka: A layered dish made with eggplant, ground beef or lamb, potatoes, and a creamy bechamel sauce.
  5. Souvlaki: Skewered and grilled meat (usually pork, chicken, or lamb) served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce.


  1. Croque-Monsieur: A classic French sandwich made with ham and cheese, toasted until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  2. Quiche Lorraine: A savory tart made with eggs, cream, cheese, and bacon or ham.
  3. Nicoise Salad: A salad made with lettuce, tuna, boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies, dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
  4. Coq au Vin: A hearty stew made with chicken, red wine, onions, mushrooms, and bacon.
  5. Pain au Chocolat: A flaky pastry filled with dark chocolate, perfect for a sweet dessert or breakfast treat.
High school lunches in France


  1. Fried Rice: Rice stir-fried with vegetables, eggs, and meat or seafood, seasoned with soy sauce and other spices.
  2. Dim Sum: A variety of small dishes served in bamboo baskets, such as dumplings, buns, and spring rolls.
  3. Hot Pot: A communal cooking pot in the center of the table, filled with broth, meat, vegetables, and noodles.
  4. Kung Pao Chicken: A spicy stir-fry made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers.
  5. Peking Duck: A whole roasted duck, traditionally served with thin pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce.


  1. Injera: A sourdough flatbread made from teff flour, used to scoop up stews and other dishes.
  2. Doro Wat: A spicy chicken stew made with berbere spice mix, onions, and tomatoes, served with injera.
  3. Tibs: Grilled or sautéed meat (usually beef or lamb) served with injera and vegetables.
  4. Shiro: A thick stew made from ground chickpeas, lentils, or other legumes, flavored with spices and served with injera.
  5. Kitfo: A dish of minced raw beef seasoned with spices, served with injera, and often accompanied by cottage cheese.


  1. Pho: A savory and aromatic soup made with rice noodles, beef or chicken broth, and various meats or vegetables.Top of FormTop of Form
  2. Banh Mi: A French-influenced sandwich filled with grilled meat or tofu, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs, served on a baguette.
  3. Spring Rolls: Rice paper rolls filled with shrimp, pork, vegetables, and herbs, served with dipping sauce.
  4. Bun Cha: Grilled pork served with rice noodles, herbs, and dipping sauce.
  5. Com Tam: Broken rice served with grilled meat, pickled vegetables, and fish sauce.


  1. Kebab: Grilled meat (usually lamb, beef, or chicken) served on a skewer with vegetables and rice or bread.
  2. Lahmacun: A thin, crispy flatbread topped with minced meat, onions, and herbs.
  3. Borek: A savory pastry filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
  4. Pilaf: A fragrant rice dish cooked with spices, vegetables, and sometimes meat.
  5. Baklava: A sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, nuts, and syrup or honey.


  1. Paella: A rice dish with saffron, vegetables, and meat or seafood, usually cooked in a large pan.
  2. Tortilla Espanola: A thick omelet made with potatoes, onions, and eggs, served hot or cold.
  3. Gazpacho: A cold soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and bread, blended until smooth and served chilled.
  4. Churros: A fried dough pastry sprinkled with sugar, often served with a dipping sauce such as chocolate.
  5. Patatas Bravas: Fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and sometimes a garlic aioli.
High school lunches in Spain

South Korea:

  1. Bibimbap: A rice bowl topped with vegetables, meat or tofu, and a fried egg, served with spicy sauce.
  2. Kimbap: A Korean version of sushi, filled with vegetables, egg, and sometimes meat, rolled in seaweed.
  3. Japchae: Glass noodles stir-fried with vegetables, meat, and sometimes mushrooms, flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  4. Tteokbokki: Spicy stir-fried rice cakes served in a sauce made with gochujang (Korean chili paste).
  5. Bulgogi: Marinated and grilled beef or pork, usually served with rice and vegetables.


  1. Shawarma: Thinly sliced meat (usually chicken or lamb) wrapped in a pita with vegetables and tahini sauce.
  2. Tabbouleh: A salad made with bulgur wheat, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice.
  3. Kibbeh: A croquette made with ground meat, bulgur wheat, and spices, often served with yogurt sauce.
  4. Fattoush: A salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pita chips, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. Manakeesh: A flatbread topped with za’atar (a mixture of spices and herbs) and olive oil, often eaten for breakfast or as a snack.


  1. Ceviche: Raw fish marinated in lime juice and seasoned with chili peppers and onions.
  2. Lomo Saltado: A stir-fry made with beef, tomatoes, onions, and french fries, served with rice.
  3. Ají de Gallina: Shredded chicken in a creamy sauce made with chili peppers, milk, and bread.
  4. Papa a la Huancaína: Boiled potatoes served with a spicy cheese sauce and black olives.
  5. Anticuchos: Grilled skewers of marinated beef heart, often served with potatoes and corn.
High school lunches in Peru


  1. Tagine: A slow-cooked stew made with meat, vegetables, and spices, served in a conical clay pot.
  2. Couscous: A North African staple made from semolina flour, usually served with vegetables and meat.
  3. Harira: A hearty soup made with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, and lamb, often served during Ramadan.
  4. B’stilla: A savory pastry filled with chicken, almonds, and spices, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Shakshuka: Eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce, often served with bread for dipping.


  1. Feijoada: A rich stew made with black beans and various types of meat, served with rice and orange slices.
  2. Coxinha: A deep-fried pastry filled with shredded chicken and cream cheese.
  3. Pão de Queijo: Small cheese bread rolls made with tapioca flour and cheese, often eaten for breakfast.
  4. Brigadeiro: A sweet treat made with condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, rolled in chocolate sprinkles.
  5. Churrasco: Grilled meats (usually beef, pork, and chicken) served with rice, beans, and sometimes farofa (toasted cassava flour).


  1. Jerk Chicken: Chicken marinated in a spicy mixture of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and other seasonings, then grilled over pimento wood.
  2. Ackee and Saltfish: A national dish made with salted codfish and the fruit of the ackee tree, often served with breadfruit or dumplings.
  3. Curry Goat: A spicy dish made with goat meat and curry powder, usually served with rice and peas.
  4. Festival: A sweet fried dumpling made with cornmeal and flour, often served with fish or other savory dishes.
  5. Callaloo: A leafy green vegetable dish often cooked with okra and coconut milk.


  1. Falafel: Deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, served in a pita with vegetables and tahini sauce.
  2. Shakshuka: Eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce, often served with bread for dipping.
  3. Hummus: A dip made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice, often served with pita bread.
  4. Sabich: A sandwich made with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, and tahini sauce.
  5. Schnitzel: Breaded and fried chicken or beef, usually served with French fries or mashed potatoes.
High school lunches in Israel

South Africa:

  1. Biltong: Dried meat (usually beef or game) seasoned with vinegar and spices, similar to jerky.
  2. Bobotie: A savory baked dish made with spiced ground meat, topped with a mixture of egg and milk.
  3. Bunny Chow: A hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, usually made with chicken or lamb.
  4. Boerewors: A type of sausage made with beef, pork, or lamb, flavored with spices such as coriander and cumin.
  5. Pap and Wors: A traditional South African meal of maize porridge (pap) served with boerewors sausage and tomato sauce.

Overall, high school lunches vary widely around the world, showcasing the diversity of different cultures and cuisines. From traditional stews and curries to fried snacks and sushi, students can enjoy a wide range of delicious and nutritious meals at school.


In conclusion, high school lunches in different countries offer a glimpse into the unique cultures and cuisines around the world. From Italian pasta dishes and Japanese sushi to Mexican tacos and Indian curries, each country has its own distinct flavors and ingredients that make their school lunches special. While some countries focus on providing balanced and nutritious meals, others place a greater emphasis on convenience and taste. Regardless of the approach, these lunches offer a valuable opportunity for students to try new foods and broaden their culinary horizons.

By celebrating these diverse and delicious meals, we can gain a greater appreciation for the many different ways people around the world nourish their bodies and connect with their cultural traditions. Furthermore, to add more spice to the lunch, kids can be sent some notes with their lunches. At the same time, educators can also indulge the high schoolers in some lunchtime activities to break the ice between different cultures.

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