Guinea fowl, organic spinach, fresh plums, and chocolate-hazelnut cream…what French kids are eating for lunch, this week in Paris!

My ‘French Kids’ School Lunch Project’ is back by popular demand! (For a full explanation of how school lunches are organized in France, click here.)

This week, we’re in Paris — the 12th ‘arrondissement’ (neighborhood). It’s perhaps less well known that some other neighborhoods, but has my favorite green space (the Bois de Vincennes), the Opéra (Bastille)…lots of wonderful things to see!

So, what are French kids eating this week in the 12ème? This menu is typical: a mix of old favorites and new tastes, designed to teach children to appreciate a diversity of foods. The French believe that ‘learning doesn’t stop in the lunchroom’, and this menu certainly makes that point. Afternoon snacks (for those who stay in after-school care) are also listed. On Tuesday, the kids are having fresh baguette, honey and milk…..simple but delicious!  Bon Appétit!

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 vending machines. No fast food or junk food. Food for thought!

Monday, September 23rd
Salad: Cucumbers with vinaigrette
Main: Sautéed guinea fowl with mushrooms, whole wheat organic pasta
Cheese/Dairy: Emmental
Dessert: Chocolate-hazelnut cream

Tuesday, September 24th
Salad: Corn and surimi salad
Main: Fish (pollock) filet with lemon and organic spinach 
Cheese/Dairy: Fromage frais (somewhat like a mix of yogurt and cottage cheese)
Dessert: Fresh plums

Wednesday, September 25th
Salad: Greens with vinaigrette
Main: Beef casserole (‘parmentier) with organic carrots
Cheese/Dairy: Saint Paulin
Dessert: Organic applesauce

Thursday, September 26th
Salad: Fresh veggies (tomatoes, beets, lettuce, carrots)
Main: Sautéed chicken with mustard, and zucchini-potato ‘gratin’ casserole
Cheese/Dairy: Brie
Dessert: Apple-rhubarb ‘clafoutis’ (a mosist cake)

Friday, September 27th
Salad: Chicken pate with pickles
Main: Fish curry with sautéed vegetables (broccoli, organic carrots, turnip, mushrooms)
Cheese/Dairy: Plain organic yogurt
Dessert: Fresh seasonal fruit

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.

3 thoughts on “Guinea fowl, organic spinach, fresh plums, and chocolate-hazelnut cream…what French kids are eating for lunch, this week in Paris!

  1. Bravo! This is great. I’m a pediatrician with my own mission to help families to learn to eat healthier food. I was just giving a talk to a group of mothers of preschoolers telling them that they should not fall into the “kid-friendly food trap.” All food is kid-friendly, kids just need to learn how to to eat it! I prove this with every kids cooking camp I hold, and now with a preschool curriculum I am piloting in my area. The kids are learning about and preparing fresh snacks with seasonal produce. This is something that adults need to understand first so they have the mindset, confidence and skills to teach their children. I will continue to share you work and ideas with my patients and fans of our website/nonprofit.


  2. I love your book and posts! I work as the cook in an elementary school and I have started to implement some of your “rules”. I tell the children to try the veggies. I tell them that they don’t have to like them, but they should try just one bite. Kids are coming back to me and telling me that they now like oranges or green beans. I have also been trying to educate the other faculty in the school on eating “French”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s