School lunches don’t get enough credit


Madeline Hittel, Reporter

Thirty million students walk through the school lunch line each day in the U.S., according to the New York Times. Approximately 1,400 students walk through the line Monday through Friday to receive their red tray of delicacies at SHS. And every single day during my lunch period, I hear at least one person complain about their school lunch and how absolutely disgusting it is.

Everyday at SHS, cafeteria ladies prepare meals for students that can be quickly made and meet the regulations that must be followed by law according to the Healthy, HungerFree Kids Act. As soon as the day begins, so does preparation for our meals.

Since the Healthy, HungerFree Kids Act took action in 2012, making lunches healthier, more students have turned their noses up to the lower in sodium, whole grain school lunches. Understandably, kids would rather feed themselves greasy personal pizzas. The changes made have caused an upset among the students eating these lunches. I get it. You’re bitter. You’re bitter that your cheesy breadsticks are no longer served.

As students eat away their meals I wonder if they truly realize how difficult it might be to make meals for that many people every single day. I think the worst part of making the meals would be the unappreciative students who toss the food around the hallway and leave their messy trays all over the cafeteria for the custodians to pick up.

School lunches are not comparable to Noodles and Company or Wolfgang Puck. But for a lunch following health regulations and a reasonable, affordable price for all students, it’s not horrifying.

I get it. School lunch isn’t the most desirable cuisine, but at least we have some food in our bellies and something to get us through the rest of the day.

Remember Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide? The lunches would literally walk off of the lunch tray with hairs and vivid sour smells. For the longest time, I had this image of all school lunches looking like something you’d find on the bottom of a chair at Chuck E. Cheese.

But, the first time I’d ever forgotten to bring my lunch in the 8th grade, I was happily surprised by the quality and the fact that it didn’t get up and walk off of my tray. After eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday for lunch, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the middle school cafeteria. The only things I had to base it off of was my knowledge from Ned’s Declassified and what my dramatic friends had said about it.

According to, 50 to 60 percent of an adolescent’s caloric intake should be complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. Believe me, cheese filled breadsticks and smiley fries are not full of the necessary vitamins and minerals for proper health and growth.

Now, if school lunches just really aren’t your cup of tea, bring your own lunch from home rather than complaining the entire lunch period. This may seem a bit harsh, but complaining about the lack of flavor isn’t necessarily making it anymore flavorful. It takes a solid three minutes to pack a lunch in the morning.