School Lunch Leaves Students Hungry and Unsatisfied

A photo of a school lunch tray with pizza, vegetables, and milk.

Ben Watson

Some students describe school pizza as greasy and flavorless, while others enjoy it. A student favorite for lunch is orange chicken.

As a junior in high school, I’ve spent the majority of my life eating school lunches and let me tell you, it has not been a pleasant experience. The food is often unappetizing, lacking in nutrition, and sometimes borderline inedible. I have had sandwiches with stale bread, meat that is frozen solid, and milk that has expired.

While the taste of school food may not sound like a huge deal, it can have excrutiating effects on students. There are times where I have decided to not eat school lunch because of how bad it tasted. Going without eating is a huge issue because it can lead to fatigue, impaired growth, and lower performance in classes. Some students rely on school lunch as their only meal and do we really want that meal to taste awful?

On top of this, let’s not forget the portion sizes. On days where I do successfully force the low quality food down, I am left unsatisfied and yearning for more food. We are growing teenagers and we shouldn’t be expected to fill up on a 200 calorie entree. I have seen students go through multiple lunches and still be hungry. More time and energy should be dedicated to creating entrees and appetizers that leave students satisfied and ready to learn.

As well as this, school lunch could use a lot more options. Eating the same food every day makes entrees and appetizers tiring and some of us have been eating these same meals every school day since we were five. Adding more options onto the menu can increase student engagement and lead to students being more inclined to try new things. On top of this, it would reduce the amount of food waste because students would be picking food that they enjoy rather than throwing away food that they don’t even want to eat in the first place. To add to the problem, FCPS has been piloting salad bars at the elementary level even though high school students would use it more.

Not everyone has the time or money to pack lunches everyday so something seriously needs to be done. We deserve to have access to nutritious, delicious, and affordable school lunches. It is time for FCPS to re-evaluate their lunch programs and make some much-needed improvements.