All public school students experience lunch in the cafeteria. Although lunch is meant to be a healthy and delicious meal, recent reports suggest that that is not always the case. High schoolers are actually throwing out their lunches and are turning to the junk food offered in the vending machines. If there are new and improved lunches in public schools, then it is confusing as to why students are choosing to dispose of them. It is important to educate ourselves about the food we eat in public schools because it can affect our physical and mental health.
Some students are still buying junk from the vending machines even though there are a variety of choices for lunch. There are “health risks,” according to a “Mother Jones” article that claims that chemicals can be hiding in packaged lunches. Schools need to be sure that what they are serving to students is safe to eat. However, it is true that schools have improved lunches. According to an online article from “”Health Research Funding,” schools “…are offering the foods that meet the nutritional standards that every student must possess.” Melissa Malloy, the School Foods Service Manager for Academy of American Studies, Newcomers High School and three other schools, has the task of coordinating the transport of lunches and creating the menu for each day. She agrees that “…public school lunches have come a long way,” and that the lunches are approved by a dietician before being sent out to schools.
One senior at Academy of American Studies, Nikole Versoza, has been eating the school lunch since her freshmen year. She feels that there are foods that she “…can’t really choose from, such as pizza, which is served every day.” Versoza believes that there has to be a variety of options for students who eat hot lunch because eating the same, unhealthy meals can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. One in three kids are overweight or obese in this country, and part of this is due to the lack of healthy options in lunches nationwide. Those who do not like the lunch, often choose snacks, which are not healthy or filling alternatives. Versoza included that she would “…rather bring something from her house instead of the food choices sometimes.”
Although there are usually three options for lunch, some students believe that there could be additions to it. Cece Humphrey, also a senior at AAS, said that she would often buy goldfish if she is not full from her lunch. Spending money on school lunch and trips to the vending machine add up at the end of the year to hundreds of dollars. When asked if there should be changes to the lunch, Humphrey immediately shouts that “there should be more fruit than just apples.” She revealed that “people with braces cannot eat them and there is no other choice for fruits.”
There are effects of eating unhealthy food that are essential to know about. A “Livestrong” article suggests that “proper nutrition is tied to better academic performance.” Students have class after lunch and those who don’t eat can lose focus and begin to fall behind. A student from the Academy of American Studies fainted because they chose not to eat lunch at all. Eating healthy is significant to a healthy body and mind.
The school lunch has positives and negatives, but it is even more important to always eat lunch. Choosing not to eat lunch at all or only eating snacks can negatively impact students physically and mentally. It can affect sleeping patterns, performance in school, attention spans, and cause constant headaches. Some students think that there should be more fruits and vegetables added to the salad bar and counters. If you are dissatisfied with the current school lunch, take action and contact the School Foods Service Manager.
Written by Rachel Manheim
Photo Credits to Rachel Manheim