Lamb's lettuce and spinach, roast turkey and potatoes….what French kids are eating, this week in Lille!

I’ve been so busy writing my new book (which will be out in the fall) and testing hundreds of recipes, that I’ve fallen behind on my weekly ‘French Kids’ School Lunches’ posts. Apologies! Sometimes life just gets too busy. Actually, I felt a little frustrated with myself at first. I loved posting the menus every week, and it was a fun routine. However, I then decided to be a little more understanding, and give myself a break. Sometimes life (especially with young kids in the house) is just like that, right?

So I’m delighted to be ‘back in the swing of things’ with this menu from the town of Lille. It’s the largest town in northern France, which has seen better days. Much like Chicago, deindustrialization hit Lille hard. However, it has such a beautiful heritage–including an incredibly charming city centre–that it is being rediscovered by younger French people. And Lille is only 1 hour (yes, one hour) away from the centre of London by high-speed train (the Eurostar line). I predict it’s going to be rediscovered…

So, what are French kids eating for school lunch this week in Lille?

As usual, the meals follow a four course structure: vegetable starter; main dish with vegetable side; cheese course; dessert. All meals are served with fresh baguette (eaten plain, usually one piece per child!) and water. No flavoured milk, juice, sports drinks, or pop. No fast food or junk food. Food for thought!

Monday, February 4th
Salad Greek ‘macedonian’ salad (typically a mix of cucumbers and other veggies) with tuna
Main Course ‘Gratin Savoyard’ (a yummy cheese & potato casserole)
Cheese/Dairy Combined with a yummy dessert today!
Dessert Vanilla cream

Tuesday, February 5th
Salad Lamb’s lettuce salad with mimolette cheese
Main Course Roast turkey with mustard, potatoes (seasoned with parsley), served with a side of spinach
Dessert Organic apple

Wednesday, February 6th
Salad Grated carrot salad with vinaigrette dressing
Main Course Roast fish with ‘sauce aurore’ (a creamy tomato sauce), organic rice, and broccoli
Cheese/Dairy combined with dessert
Dessert Fruit yogurt

Thursday, February 7th
Main Course Roast lamb à la provençale (baked with olives and herbes de provence), with organic couscous and ratatouille (a southern French stew with roasted tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini)
Cheese/Dairy Babybel cheese (mild, sort of like Gouda)
Dessert A clementine

Friday, February 8th
Salad Raw veggies
Main Course Braised beef, with carrots
Cheese/Dairy Gruyère cheese
Dessert Fresh fruit with ‘fromage blanc’ (a mild, creamy dairy product a lot like Greek yogurt)

Don’t these sound amazing? Why not try one of these dishes (or even an entire menu) with your family for dinner one evening this week?

This blog post is part of my French Kids School Lunch Project. Every week, I post the school lunch menus from a different village or town in France, where three-course, freshly-prepared hot lunches are provided to over 6 million children in the public school system every day. These meals cost, on average, $3 per child per day (and prices for low-income families are subsidised). My hope is that these menus (together with my other blog posts about the French approach to kid’s food) will spark a conversation about what children CAN eat, and how we can do better at educating them to eat well.

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