Let’s Talk About Kyushoku

Japanese school lunch has a good reputation for a reason: It’s freaking awesome! In lieu of a lunch lady, you get a school nutritionist. Food is cooked on site. There’s a guaranteed protein, carb, and veggie balance. Students serve each other and lunch is a class instead of just a meal. But, here’s the thing…

School lunch is balanced for growing children. Children who get two recesses a day and something like two or three P.E. classes a week. Children who need fuel. If you’re a short adult? You’re screwed. Check out this breakdown of one of my schools’ lunches for a month.

That’s one meal of 600 calories or more. Some are over 700 calories! A Big Mac is only in the 500 calorie range. Yeah, the school lunch is way healthier in content, but it’s still gonna fatten you up something awful.

I ate school lunch and ballooned for two years. For the past three I’ve brought my own bento to school. Much better. I’m so short that more than 400 calories for a lunch portion is just too much. I’ve managed to lose what weight I gained, thank goodness, but I pity those who just dine away oblivious. I notice a lot of my coworkers also deftly skip out on most or all of their lunch, too. They pretend to get lost in the task of serving up leftovers or collecting plates at the end of the meal and whoops! No time to eat. Only the rice is left. Oh, well. Yeah, I see you skinny ladies. I see you.

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