School Lunches: How Healthy Are They?

School Lunches: How Healthy Are They?

Daniel Oh, Journalist

With so many students getting free school lunches every day, it comes naturally to wonder if the school system can sustain the health of a student for a year’s worth of lunches. Foods in the school lunch line include pizza and chicken nuggets. These foods, in general, aren’t considered to be extremely “healthy” foods. Eating those every day surely can’t be healthy, right?


What’s even worse is that the vegetables and fruits may not be eaten by the students, they can just opt out of them by throwing them away. Just giving students vegetables may result in wasted food and bad nutrition.  


Leaving the meals as it is just relies on the student’s other meals throughout the day. The school has a responsibility to keep our meals healthy.


Something a lot of people don’t know is that all of education’s food is that it’s heavily maintained by the US government. The USDA, the US Department of Agriculture, makes sure that the food that they put out to students fills out the nutritional needs. This means they give students fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, meat alternatives, and fluid milk. 


Even though the district works hard to make sure students are well nutritioned, the real issue is that people waste a lot of food when they don’t want to eat it. There isn’t usually enough of a system or enforcement to prevent students from just throwing away their food. Public schools end up producing around 1.9% of all food waste in the country. 


Bowditch has recycling and trash cans all over the campus. All food waste at lunch is put in the trash, leading to a lot of wasted food. Just implementing a compost system would help with the food waste but wouldn’t help with the student’s nutrition. To help with that, we need another system to be put into place. 


This system would implement multiple strategies to prevent students from throwing away other foods that they don’t want. For example, just starting by announcing that you must not waste food would work well. People who are loyal to the school rules will immediately get higher nutrition from that one announcement. For the others that don’t follow the rules, we can implement a system that encourages them to eat nutritious food during lunch. For example, cutting fruits, or combining vegetables into food in sensible and tasty ways. 


Regardless of how much the USDA puts effort into putting out nutritious food to students, there’s a problem that gets glossed over by the systems. By putting effort into the problem of wasted food, we can be beneficial towards ourselves and the world.