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Kids lunches aren't all sheet pizzas and PB&Js. From Swedish meatballs to rice balls, here are 4 lunches from around the globe.

Swedish-Inspired Lunch


serving time4


  • For the Swedish meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, to sauté meatballs

  • For the pan sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all meatball ingredients until just combined. Roll into about twenty small meatballs, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in size. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté meatballs over medium heat until all sides are browned and meatballs are cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove meatballs from pan.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt butter for the sauce and whisk in flour. Cook flour, whisking well, until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Whisk in broth, cream, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, salt and pepper, and stir until the sauce is well combined. Bring sauce to a simmer and add meatballs back to the skillet.

  3. Serve immediately over egg noodles with crepes and lingonberry jam, rye brod with spread and cucumber slices, boiled egg, beets and fruit.

Swedish-Inspired Lunch

Japanese Animal Rice Ball


serving time1


  • 1 cup cooked sushi rice

  • 1 tablespoon teriyaki chicken, or filling of choice

  • Nori, for decoration

  • Sliced cheese, for decoration

  • Sliced ham, for decoration

  • Salt, to taste


  1. Line a small teacup with plastic wrap. Sprinkle the plastic wrap with a bit of water and pour out any excess, then sprinkle a pinch of salt into the cup. Fill the cup with sushi rice, almost to the brim, then poke a small hole in the center of the rice.

  2. Place the chicken teriyaki filling in the center, and top with a bit more rice. Pull together the plastic wrap and tighten to squeeze any air bubbles from the rice ball. Remove rice ball from plastic wrap and garnish as desired with nori, cheese and ham shapes.

  3. Serve immediately on a bed of vegetables, with fruit and a ham and cheese “garden”, Japanese omelette, mixed fruit and kombu.

Japanese Animal Rice Ball

Peruvian-Inspired Lunch


serving time4


  • For the fried plantains:

  • Vegetable oil

  • 4 green plantains

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/3 cup water

  • Salt


  1. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Peel plantains and cut width wise into 4 or 5 pieces. Fry plantains for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel-covered plate.

  2. In a small bowl, mix minced garlic, water and salt. Flatten the fried plantains between sheets of parchment until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Dip them in the garlic and salt mixture, then fry in hot oil again until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side.

  3. Serve immediately accompanied by lomo soltado over rice, purple potato and sliced tomatoes, and mazamorra morada.

Peruvian-Inspired Lunch

French-Inspired Lunch


serving time6-8


  • For the grated carrots:

  • 8 large carrots, peeled and grated

  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 orange, juiced

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. In a large bowl, combine carrots and parsley.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, Dijon and salt. Pour olive oil mixture over carrots and dress until carrots are well coated but not sitting in liquid.

  3. Serve immediately accompanied by ratatouille, baguette, Brie, kiwi and tarte tatin.

French-Inspired Lunch




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox