What School Lunches Look Like In Panama

When we think of school lunches, visions of cardboard-like pizza, mozzarella sticks, mini cartons of milk, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets come to mind. While schools have definitely increased their efforts to make school lunches healthier, a lot of places have lunches that look differently based on what's available nearby. A Washington Post article highlights the differences in school lunches based on the different regions in the U.S., which vary pretty significantly. 

Midwest states enjoying more meat and potatoes, southern states feature fare like sausage biscuits, while states out west enjoy fresh produce thanks to the farms in California. If the school lunches in different parts of America look differently, what does that mean for different countries? It should come as no surprise that the cafeteria offerings in Panama greatly differ from what we would expect to receive from a lunch lady stateside, but their lunches still sound incredibly delicious.

Meat and rice is a common lunch staple

According to The Kitchn, a "simple but filling take on school lunch in Panama City, Panama, includes chili con carne, rice, tortilla chips, and pico de gallo and queso for dipping." Sign us up! This hearty fare differs from what many American kids would expect to see on their lunch tray, but it's consistent with what many families prepare in Panama. 

Spanish Panama says another common entree in Panama, known as "arroz con pollo," consists of chicken and rice. "The chicken here is usually slow cooked or braised and served with vegetables (and also, a little less commonly, with beef or pork as the meat component)," the outlet explains. While it may seem strange to us to consider having a school lunch comprised of these ingredients, this delicious fare is probably familiar to many of the kids in Panama, and it's interesting to see what types of foods and meals other countries consider commonplace.