What’s So Bad About School Lunch?


Caroline Carter, Staff Writer

For the most part, everyone knows what a school lunch tastes like. Not many people look back on those trays with fondness. While many cafeterias claim the meals provided exhibit every food group, the food often looks, smells, and tastes awful. Some students rely on schools for breakfast and lunch, but is the food giving students the nourishment they need?

Many public school students recall school lunch nightmares. Many [including myself] remember hot dogs that were green on the inside, chicken with grill marks painted on them, and cardboard-like pizza. Some have even seen rats and cockroaches crawling around in the dark kitchens. Public schools in New York, more specifically Queens, require the most deliberate inspections. In 2018, inspectors found cockroaches crawling around 99 cafeteria floors, fruit flies in 80 kitchens, 336 schools with mouse droppings, including the dining area, and flies inhabiting 22 drains where serving utensils are washed. 

Nutrition is crucial, especially in a learning environment; some students rely on school lunch for sustenance. If students are not receiving a healthy and nutritious meal, their performance will reflect that. Students’ wellbeing is important, and nourishment is an integral part of it. School systems should invest in the betterment of their kitchens, dining areas, and food. While the meals provided represent every food group, students find most of the cuisine repulsive. Most of the items on the tray are most likely frozen, boxed, canned, and possibly reused, making the cooks’ jobs easier. However, the easy way is not always the best way. It would take too long to prepare meals for the entire school when not everyone eats a school lunch, but careful consideration should be put into what is served.

How do we help keep our cafeterias and students safe? If a parent contacts administrators expressing concerns about the cafeteria, administers must take action. They will get the health department involved and make sure the rules are followed strictly. As a result, noticeable changes will occur within the kitchens and dining areas. While schools care about students’ voices, a parent’s voice is more effective at creating a much needed change. Healthy meals should be provided to all students who need them, and they should be able to trust whatever may be presented upon their trays.


Works Cited
Miller, Miles. “Hundreds of School Cafeterias Flunk City Health Inspections.” Spectrum News 
NY1, Published 25 February 2019, 
Nk-city-health-inspections, Accessed 17 September 2019.
“Benefits of School Lunch.” Food Research & Action Center
Accessed 18 September 2019.