Happy National School Lunch Hero Day! Japanese School Lunch

Happy National School Lunch Hero Day! Did you know, today May 5th 2023 isn’t only the celebration day for Cinco de Mayo but the day to honor everyone who contributed to serve healthy yummy school lunch! 

School Lunch Hero Day is created to take a moment to thank everyone who helped to serve school lunch/food in the US. It is held on the first Friday in May annually. 


I have talked about school lunch in Japan a lot in this blog, but there are more stories I haven’t shared with you guys. I came up with the perfect topic for today, so please join met Today’s story may surprise you. 


<How School Lunch Arrived in Front of Kids>

In my case, school lunch menu was planned about a couple of months prior to the specific month by the school nutritionist. Back then the allergy risk wasn’t taken seriously, so everyone had exactly the same food. The menu changed daily based on what kind of grain was used as the main dish like bread, rice, or noodle (it may sound weird but in their culture, we set grains as “main dish” then then think about what to accompany.) Just like we have Cinco de Mayo celebration, we also have special days almost every month, so the seasonal menu was also added accordingly. After getting approval from the school principal, all ingredients were made to be shipped and the menu list was distributed to everyone on the first day of each month. 


<Who Cooked School Lunch?> 

We had a special team responsible for cooking in the school kitchen. There were about 500 kids and probably about 50 adults, so the kitchen had huge pots, pans, and sinks neatly arranged. Around 11am, we started to smell the food and kids couldn’t stop talking about what’s for today’s lunch by checking the menu list. 


<How the School Lunch was Distributed>

Every week we took turns for who’s in charge of distributing food. As soon as the class ended, about 6 kids who were in charge changed to special white clothes and ran to pick up the food wagon. The food came in big canteens and buckets, and kids distributed them by making sure everyone got about the same amount of the food. This was challenging, so sometimes oh-no-we’re-running-out-of-the-food happened. When that happened, the kids called everyone to volunteer to return some of the food. Amazingly, all kids volunteered no matter what the food was their favorite. 


<How the School Lunch was Served>

That’s another responsibility for kids. There were about 30 kids in my class, so if everyone went to pick up the food, it would be chaos. So just like distribution, we took turns weekly. Those kids served the school lunch tray by making sure everyone got a tray. That means we already trained the server’s skill…we’re ready to work at a restaurant!


When everyone was ready to eat, we pressed our hands together and said “itadakimasu” at the same time by thanking everyone who brought food in front of them and happy eating time had started. 


If there was National School Lunch Hero Day in Japan, kids would also be heroes. Back then I thought school lunch time was just the time to eat, but there were actually many lectures behind it.


Thank you all who contributed for the distribution of school lunch. This National School Lunch Hero Day was created to spot a light in the US schools, but let’s thank everyone around the world who provided healthy yummy food to kids.  


<Check Out Posts with Japanese Kids and School Lunch>

Let’s Say Yay to No-Waste Cooking! Crispy Salmon Skin Hand Roll

Happy No One Eats Alone Day! Let’s Eat Together and Have Some Fun!


<Japanese Kids’ Favorite School Lunch Menu>

Kinako Dusted (No) Fried Bread

kinako dusted no fried bread

Wakame Seaweed Mixed Rice

wakame mixed rice

Japanese Style Curry Rice

Japanese Style Curry Rice

<It’s Cinco de Mayo, Meaning It’s National Enchilada Day!>

Which one do you prefer, red sauce or green sauce?

enchiladas red sauce     enchilada in green sauce

Enjoy home cooking and your own creation of homemade food:)

9 Comments Add yours

  1. johnrieber says:

    This is terrific! We all have memories of our school lunches when we great up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tanooki says:

      Thank you John, and I totally agree!🙌✨
      This is one of the reasons why my husband wants to eat pizza every Friday🤣🍕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. johnrieber says:

        Such great memories of childhood!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. elvira797mx says:

    Happy Lunch Day! Tanooki, makes me remember those day of school eating my lunch.
    Have a lovely weekend! How is beautiful bay and you? Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tanooki says:

      Thank you Elvira! I wonder what you had for your school lunch, since it varies where they’re from!😊

      Have a wonderful weekend, have some lovely pastries!🧁🍪

      Liked by 2 people

  3. elvira797mx says:

    Beautiful baby

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Livia says:

    Thank you very much for sharing all these interesting experiences and facts about your school lunch. 🙏 😊
    I think ours was much less special back when I was at grammar school. We had 2 different main menus that consisted of meat, side dish and vegetables. As far as I remembered, the dishes changed, but were very repetitive. Like every two or maximum three weeks, you had the same stuff to choose from, again. 😜 Of course allergies and different diets weren’t known yet, so when you wanted to have a vegetarian dish for example, you could either only eat salad, or take the complete menu, and just give the meat to your friends. 😜

    For lower levels, we went home for lunch as I grew up in a small village and the school where all the kids from the surrounding villages went, was in about 3km distance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tanooki says:

      you could either only eat salad, or take the complete menu, and just give the meat to your friends

      In this situation, does teachers interfere to encourage kids to eat everything? I observed a situation that was like even though kids told teachers about their allergy, they didn’t trust kids. Several rallies of “you gotta eat them” “no I’m allergic to that food” kind of conversation(and sometimes it pushed back the entire class’ play time😵‍💫), teachers contacted parents and finally the kids were allowed to leave the food. I didn’t have classmates who needs to be on specific diet rather than allergy, but if kids say “I’m vegetarian/vegan/paleo” teachers wouldn’t allow leaving the food but forced to eat them…if the kids gave their meat to one kid, other kids wouldn’t allow it since any kind of meat was kids’ favorite🤣🍗💕

      Liked by 1 person

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