Multicultural Meal Plan: French School Dinners {La Famille Brown}

Our guest writer, Becky of La Famille Brown, describes a multicultural meal plan at her son’s school in France.

Last September Reuben, our 4 year old, started school full time in France. Previously we had been living in London, UK, and although we had prepared him as much as we could it was still probably a huge culture shock for him. Not only did he not speak the language, or know any of the other children going, he would be attending a long school day from 9am to 4.30pm, and be having lunch there, something he’d not previously done before.


We had heard good things about the village school canteen and we were impressed when at the start of term we were given a menu for the month of what the children would be tucking into. Each month we have subsequently been given the school lunch menu and here is an example, with my best translation below, of what he has been eating for the month of April. (There might be a few gaps as we’re learning French too and some things I could just not find a translation for!) There are only 4 days as here in our French village kids only go to school on Wednesday mornings and are then at home for the rest of the day.

Chou chinois etlardons
Paupiettes de veau
Fromage blanc
Salade de riz
Poêlée de legumes
Pavé d’affinois
Lasagnes au boeufgratinés
Salade de fruits
Quicheau fromage
Dos de colin
Duo de carottes
Carottes râpées
Pommes de terrefarcies
Poulet rôti
Haricots beurre
Blanquette de veau
Mini roitelet
Trio de choux au compté
Filet de cabillaud
Lundi de pâques 
Céleri râpé
Cordon bleu
Crispy cubes
Segment d’oranges
Rôti de porc
Ballottines au olives
Coeur de merlu
Chou romanesco

Here is the menu in English…

Chinese cabbage & lardons
Veal with barley
Fromage blanc
Rice salad
Sausage and fried vegetables
Fruit salad
Cheese quiche
Fish & carrots
Grated carrots
Stuffed potatoes
Roast chicken with butter beans
Veal stew & pasta
Cheese pastry
Fish & ratatouille
Fruit compote
(Easter Monday)
Grated celery
Meat wrapped around cheese with potato
Roast pork with lentils
Fish with cabbage

It’s clear a great deal of planning goes into their menu and the kids are given a balanced diet throughout the week. You’ll see all the food on the menu is colour coded as follows:

Blue – milk products
Green – fruit and vegetables
Red – meat, fish and eggs
Brown – breads, cereals and dry vegetables

Reuben is still slowly growing accustomed to some of the food though he’s always been a good eater. I know the children are encouraged to try new things and it’s the only food that they are offered throughout the school day other than a small snack they take for the morning break. Reuben has gone from not liking tomatoes at all to requesting them with his lunch and this is all from being given them regularly at school (I stopped giving them to him at home because I knew/thought he wouldn’t eat them.) The children are also required to sit nicely at the dinner table and are given proper china plates and glasses, unlike in many schools in the UK where they are given plastic ones. Perhaps this is why so many children in France are so well behaved when at the dinner table and out in restaurants as from a young age they are taught good table manners and to enjoy a well cooked (3 course!) meal. We make a real effort as a family to eat the majority of our evening meals together. We will also be taking tips from Reuben’s school menu planning balanced weekly meals!

Advert png 200La Famille Brown is a family blog about an English family of 4, who in 2013 decided to move from London, UK, to a small village in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of South West France. Becky Brown, who alongside bringing up 2 boys teaches music and English classes to children, blogs about French village life, learning French, setting up new businesses, alongside recipes, crafts and gardening adventures for all the family!

Multicultural Meal Plan Mondays on Multicultural Kid BlogsYou can also read other multicultural meal plans in this series and follow our Multicultural Cooking board on Pinterest.

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Rue Du Belvedere is a family blog by Becky Brown. In 2013 the Brown family decided to move from London, UK, to a small village in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of South West France. Becky, who alongside bringing up 2 boys, teaches music and English classes to children, blogs about French village life alongside recipes, crafts and gardening adventures for all the family!

Latest posts by Becky Brown (see all)

2 thoughts on “Multicultural Meal Plan: French School Dinners {La Famille Brown}”

  1. How fun to see an actual menu! I’ve recently read two books that talked about the French school menus and table experiences. I find this fascinating because I have a couple picky eaters, struggle to enjoy mealtime with little ones, and I do not enjoy meal planning or cooking. The two books are “Bringing up Bebe” and “Global Mom.” We try to have dinner as a family together every evening but oh how I’d love to have my lunches catered by a French school chef! I think I need to find some basic French cookbooks and dive in.

    1. I also read ‘Bringing up Bebe’ but under the UK title ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’ and it was my first introduction to the eating habits of French children. I do sometimes feel like my two boys are slightly wild when we go out to eat, never wanting to sit at the table for very long and not eating certain foods. So I’m glad that they will get taught at school good table manners and be exposed to food that we might not be cooking at home. Despite living in France the meals we cook are still very English…think we might have to get a French cookbook too!

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