German kindergarten lunch

Ever wondered what preschoolers and toddlers eat in a German nursery/daycare? Wonder, no more. Here it is.



Both my children now attend a German kindergarten. Kindergartens in Germany are for children up to 6 years old as school starts at 6. Typically, a hot meal is served at lunchtime (as well as a snack in the afternoon in ours).

This is how it works in our kindergarten. Of course, I cannot generalise to every German kindergarten but it should give you a general view of what it is like.

The concept
  • No lunch box. Everyone shares a meal together. 
  • All sit together. Children and adults sit and eat together. No separate tables for adults. 
  • Adults eat the same thing as the children. 
  • Adults and children talk about their day, their weekend, families, etc together. 
  • The younger children are helped by the older ones.

The set-up
  • The older children (3-6) work on a rota to set up the table, clean it up, sweep the floor, etc.
  • Food is brought in from the kitchen onto the dining areas on trolleys by the children. 
  • Everyone who is able to do it gets up and helps himself/herself (usually from 3 years old). 
  • Children younger than 3, are helped by their Partner-Kind (a kind of child buddy) who serves them and carries their plate back to their seat.
  • Plates, glasses and cutlery are plastic for the younger children only. From 3, all children use normal grown-up porcelain plates and metal cutlery.

The food
  • It is typically German. Nothing very exotic or unusual (which is a little disappointing as far as I am concerned).
  • Tasting the food is mandatory. And they really do it! I was amazed by that at the beginning but everyone has to taste everything. My girl eats salad there!
  • There are almost no deserts. Just fruits.
  • The afternoon snacks are always fruits and vegs (cucumber, peppers, carrots, pears, kiwis, bananas, etc...).
  • Drinks offered are simply water or unsweetened (fruit) tea. 
  • Friday is always fish day.
  • Once a month, a sweet dish is served as a main course (but this is a very local German thing I am told). 
  • There is a special menu for children under 18 months (but there are very few children under 18 months - 2 currently).
  • Wednesdays are organic days (all food is organic).

Translation of the menu above:

Wednesday 30/09
2 organic eggs with herb sauce, potatoes and carrots. Fruits.

Friday 02/10
Salmon, creamed spinach, salted potatoes. Bananas.

Monday 05/10
Chopped chicken breast in a white sauce, vegetable bulgur, salad. Fruits.

Thursday 08/10
Chickpea stew with pepper couscous. Vanilla custard pudding.

N.B. The letters next to the dishes refer to a list of ingredients that may cause allergies. 

4 comments:

  1. I was so glad to read this. Interesting info! Love the rule about everything should be tasted. Like I tell my 3 year old, it's okay to not like something, but it's not okay to completely reject it without even a few bites!

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  2. Interesting, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Sounds great for building independence and a sense of responsibility for oneself and the community. Is it inspired by Montessori's teaching? I've never understood plastic forks, they just don't work as well!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it is loosely Montessori influenced even though they don't say it. A lot of German ideas about brining up children are close to the Montessori values.

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Thanks for your feedback.

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