Here are pictures of what some school lunches might look like around the world. The images were created by Sweetgreen, the healthy salad chain with restaurants in DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. The pictures are examples of "some typical school meals around the world," according to Sweetgreen.
Here's what the restaurant says a school lunch in France might look like.
Want some shrimp? Try Spain.
Finally, here's a shot of a typical US school lunch.
Admittedly, these lunches were prepared by an upper-scale farm-to-table restaurant, so they're at least a little bit prettier than what real lunches might look like. For a less stylized presentation of school lunches around the world, see this slideshow on Business Insider. Buzzfeed, too, has compiled a collection.
But even if Sweetgreen's images are doctored, the point being made is still noteworthy. American schoolchildren, in general, aren't as accustomed to eating the same fresh, healthy meals as some of their global neighbors. In the photo series above, the American meal includes chicken nuggets, peas, mixed fruit, mashed potatoes, and a cookie. While that satisfies certain federal guidelines for nutrition, there's plenty here (preservatives, processed sugar) that's less than ideal. Still, the meal doesn't look that bad.
Of course, as anyone who went to US public schools knows, the meals are rarely this aesthetically appealing.
Plenty of them look like this.
Had a very #healthylunch today. The apple definitely made up for the "mystery mush" #ThanksMichelleObama pic.twitter.com/RWCnQRCxJK— Hunter Whitney (@huntwhitney4) November 13, 2014
"Today, class, we'll be having brown."
For an explanation of the #ThanksMichelleObama hashtag, read this piece by Vox's Libby Nelson.