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The school lunch system is necessary for healthy mental and physical growth in children. We are glad that they are eating more now.

11 Comments

Adachi Ward Mayor Yayoi Kondo. The ward has succeeded in drastically reducing leftovers from school lunches by serving enticing dishes and working to increase students’ interest in food. Leftovers at public elementary and junior high schools in the ward have fallen in volume to about one-third of the amount produced more than a decade ago.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

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One of the few benefits of the Japanese education system.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Healthy enjoyable meals are good for the kids ensuring they are receiving at least one meal per day.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

My son is a very fussy eater and was essentially bullied by one of his teachers into eating food he disliked at school lunch. This was part of a "zanpan nashi" (no leftovers) campaign that teacher was doing on his own. Kids in other classes were allowed to leave the same food and did not have to sit next to the teacher looking at their plate for the entire lunch hour.

While its good to eat vegetables, to appreciate the food you are given, and not waste things, the reality is that some people do not like certain foods and are more sensitive to them than others. These campaigns ultimately end up judging children on their ability/willingness to eat "piman", natto, and other foods adults openly admit to not liking.

On the whole, Japanese school lunches are high quality and inexpensive, so I fully support them. I just do not support forcing children to eat everything on their plate, something which can lead to children refusing to go to school.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

My son is a very fussy eater

Public school is take-it-or-leave-it.

Probably better for them to teach them at home anyway.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Reducing waste is good but there is no benefit in forcing kids to eat food they don't like and it can do harm. Implement self-service, so they can make their own choices. They are children, not soldiers. When I was a kid I disliked vegetables and often refused to eat them. It caused so much aggro and stress. I'm now vegan. Worry less about your kids and try not to micromanage every aspect of their lives. They will find their own path.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My son is a very fussy eater

kids only learn that from parents, introducing vegetables and healthy food when kids are young makes them far less fussy when theyre older. my kids eat almost anything now, because my wife was giving them vegetable sticks small salads and even nato at a young age

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"My son is a very fussy eater"

Yeah, my Black, Baltimore momma had a cure for that.

Eat everything or it is served each meal until you do.

Fussy eater cure from the old school of Black parenting. My kids get the same. Not a fussy eater among them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No, no, stop it, and handle it in a more pragmatic way, as the body ‘knows’ or ‘calls’ for the wanted food and nutrition permanently. Let them eat what they like in the amount they like. Look, that’s also additionally and in fact in the very most cases the only real pleasure in school time and in their future life as an adult too, a pleasure that they do have now or will have, often the only and last one.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, no, stop it, and handle it in a more pragmatic way, as the body ‘knows’ or ‘calls’ for the wanted food and nutrition permanently. 

This is just magical thinking, lots of people have terrible nutrition because there is no such thing. Thinking that children will naturally choose a good diet over sweets has no basis on reality.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The system in Japan is wonderful. Not just the food, but that they are serving each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guys, the system is decent, IF it works well. When it doesn't, it's as bad as anything else. Kids serving each other? I've watched them hit each other with ladles and kids who want more than their share of some dishes spitting it in so no one else will eat it, I've seen them knock over the large containers of soup, etc. etc. I also know that many parents don't bother to pay for it because they know there are no consequences for not paying, and so everyone else has to cover their costs. They do absolutely nothing for children who have certain allergies (those kids' parents must pay for school lunch but the kids have to bring their own, and eat somewhere else if it's an allergy where even the presence and smell could kill them), it's a source of a major Noro virus break through at least once a year, they get served meat products that the government and others can't sell (like whale), and it is ultimately the result of an incredibly underfunded system (which they again justify with the "good for cooperation and humility" garbage). Now, I will say that it is far better than kids going hungry, and in general school lunches have a decent balance (except the whole 3.7% milk thing with everything), but that's it. They could make it MUCH better with a little funding. But nah... that's gotta be saved for more important things while Japan remains the absolute lowest spender on education in the G20 by an exponential amount.

And as for the "healthy mental and physical growth" argument, you can read the exact same words as for why little boys in kindergarten wear high shorts in the dead of winter (and they "look genki!"), why coaches feel physical and verbal abuse is okay, etc.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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