One of the biggest contrasts that I noticed about Sweden was the difference in diet. I found that people are much more conscious and even knowledgeable about the food they eat everyday. It is important that every meal fulfills all nutritional requirements. While it is without a doubt Swedes enjoy their candy, I feel they are much more concerned about having a balanced diet with the occasional sweet treat.
The same can be said for school lunches. Any other school I have been to has had a cafeteria full of fried or microwaved food, something you would not find in Sweden. I had to always bring a lunch because the school cafeteria was full of junk.
One of the best things about studying in Sweden is definitely the school lunches. I would buy my lunch everyday at school if I could afford it. The lunches are made fresh and there are always lots of options to choose from. The hot and fresh meals are a much welcome change from the fried, unhealthy options I had before.
There are usually many typical household Swedish food to choose from, even some delicious Thai options. The best way to try some real Swedish household food is to buy a few lunches in the school cafeteria. Homemade pannbiff (hamburger steak) with lingonberry jam or pyttipanna (potatoes, onions and ham, chopped and fried together) are just some of the options.
And of course, you cannot forget about Thursdays ärtsoppa (pea soup) and pannkakor (pancakes). This traditional yellow pea soup usually includes pork and is served with mustard, hard bread and salad. To follow this hearty soup, thin pancakes are usually served with jam and whipped cream. Take a trip to any cafeteria or restaurant on a Thursday and you will be sure to find this on the menu.
These healthy hot lunches are even served free in primary and elementary schools. The nutritious meals cover all food groups and contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. In addition, much research shows that children who eat healthy balanced meals also improve their behavior and focus in the afternoon. This can also have a great impact on a future healthy lifestyle.
You will never find a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pizza or some frozen unknown concoction in a Swedish school. And, unlike most of the meals served in my old schools for lunch, you can surely pronounce all the ingredients. Instead what you get is freshly cooked, healthy, hot and delicious meals.