Fed Up with school lunch

Vowing to eat the school lunch her students get in 2010, Mrs. Q is lunch blogging as Fed Up. 

Today’s menu: Pepperoni pizza, milk, baby carrots, multi-grain apple mini-crisps, fruit cup.

Our first repeat meal! I strongly dislike the pizza so for me this one was a rough. I got excited by the “mini-crisps” because I thought they might be dehydrated apple slices, but unfortunately they were bland, rice cake-like disks.
I liked the baby carrots, but I asked one of my students if he ate them and he told me, “No.”
The fruit cup was partially frozen AGAIN. I did attempt to eat it, but I didn’t even eat half of it.

On the other hand, the Rib-a-cue tastes a lot better than it looks, she reports.

Via Core Knowledge Blog.

In elementary school, we walked home for lunch. I ate the school lunch in junior high school. It was just as bad. I wondered why they had to serve a hot lunch since I usually ate a sandwich for lunch at home. In high school, the cafeteria was so noisy, crowded and dirty that I brought a bag lunch and ate it in a student lounge or (secretly) in the social studies library.  When I was too lazy to make lunch, I ate two bags of M&M’s in the lounge, which inevitably led to a hunger headache. I’d make myself soup when I got home.

Update:  When recess comes before lunch, students eat more and return to class calmer, some schools say.

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  1. Every once in a while I still get a craving for “hamburger surprise.”

  2. Thanks for the great article!

    As more students sign up for the school lunch program, it’s even more important that school meals are encouraging healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, most school lunch lines are still packed with chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and other meat industry leftovers. We need to ask Congress to help schools serve more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat vegetarian meals. You can get involved in a campaign that’s working to do just that: http://HealthySchoolLunches.org.

  3. I used to go home in elementary school sometimes–hot soup!

    My *high school* students can’t do that today, as we have a closed campus.

  4. Never had “Rib-a-cue” in school, but it sounds like something I’d love. The junior high school where I teach is pretty vanilla in its offerings, and I’m not talking about ice cream.

  5. I still miss the chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes…

  6. I always loved school lunches–when I was a student. Not so much as a teacher. It’s different somehow.

  7. Mrs. Q: What fraction of the students eat the school lunch vs. brown-bagging it vs. going home vs. going off-campus-elsewhere? As as brown-bagger and mother of brown-baggers, I’d like to know. I didn’t/wouldn’t eat the (cooked-on site, from-scratch) food, nor did my kids. Even a first-grader should be able to make a decent, and cheap, bag lunch.

  8. I ate school lunches when we were under the free lunch program — it was my only hot meal of the day (and yes, that’s why they are hot lunches and not sandwiches). I miss the chocolate iced peanutbutter bars, but I used to eat the veggies, too. I’ve always been big on veggies.

    Now, I don’t go near the cafeteria at lunch. There are teenagers there! It is actually very reasonable for me to buy a decent lunch, but I prefer to bring my own and save precious time.

    We have open campus, so the kids often head out to the grocery store or McDonald’s to get something.

  9. When I was a kid, I brownbagged it every day. The lunches at the school system I was in were scary…they put soy in the burgers even before that was considered a “healthy” thing to do.

    I’d probably starve now – I took peanut butter every day, and I know a lot of districts have banned it because of peanut allergies. I’m not sure what I’d carry in my lunch now.

  10. Reminds me of this website: http://whatsforschoollunch.blogspot.com/ – School lunches around the world.

  11. CarolineSF says:

    Every kid will tell you: School food sucks.

    Here in San Francisco, the federal subsidy for low-income students allows about $1 per meal for the food itself, after the costs of labor and overhead. And our district has to keep the cost of lunch for students who don’t qualify for subsidized lunch low, because the threshold for qualifying is cruelly low here in one of the nation’s highest-cost-of-living cities. The solution, obviously, is to provide enough funding to serve quality food.

    San Francisco school food activists — students, parents and staff — made this 3-minute video, featuring real live SFUSD students in a real live SFUSD cafeteria, to illustrate the problem and the solution.

  12. My school lunch history:

    School lunch early in elementary school, later with bringing my own lunch on occasion. I remember trading pickles to a girl who really liked them. I also remember hating the school’s pizza (it was made off-site and microwaved, so it was horribly soggy.)

    7th grade: Bought lunch, with more a la carte options.

    8th grade: Had a cooking class in the morning, so I often wasn’t hungry at lunch, so I bought less.

    9th-10th grade: Brought lunch most days. Occasionally went off campus, to a friend’s house in walking distance.

    10th-12th grade: Moved to a new school. Got tired of packing a lunch. Went back to getting school lunch. It was a closed campus.

    College: Privately operated dormitory with its own cafeteria. Standard cafeteria fare, but far better than school lunch.

    I’ve often wondered why politicians (mostly Democrats) put such an emphasis on having people make healthier food choices, but allow schools to serve exceptionally unhealthy, Grade Z meals.


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