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Are School Lunches Better For You?

A look at the new healthy vending machines.

A look at the new healthy vending machines.

Photo courtesy of yahoo images

Photo courtesy of yahoo images

A look at the new healthy vending machines.

Haley Calderon, Staff Reporter

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For most kids, the nutritional value of their lunches isn’t all that important to them. Some may not even give it a second thought. But a recent study in Massachusetts conducted an investigation to determine if “brown bag” lunches, or lunches made from home, were typically nutritional or not. The result of said study was that majority of brown bag lunches did a poor job of providing a nutritional meal. What exactly constitutes a nutritional meal? Well, based on what the NSLP (National School Lunch Program) says, a “nutritional meal” should consist of grains, meat, milk, fruit, and vegetables, and it is required that all schools carry all of those to ensure a healthy lunch. Next time you sit down at school to eat, look around at all the people who brought a lunch. Do they fit the criteria set forth by the NSLP? Chances are they don’t, at least not completely. In a typical brown bag lunch, kids bring a sandwich, snack foods such as chips, and water. Because of this, the obvious choice is to try and switch to school lunches…right? Unfortunately, some lunches at certain schools aren’t that good for you though here at Lincoln-Way East that is not the case, which I will later fully delve into.

When asked if she gets school lunches, freshman Alex Shickel said, “No, I can’t eat it because I can’t eat gluten. It would be nice to see some more gluten and allergy friendly options though,” and she brings up a good point. It is not common to see schools offer allergy options for students which may aid in more kids bringing brown bag lunches, though it is understandable seeing that many schools are already cutting corners. Besides possibly being allergic or intolerant, another reason school lunches may not be the best choice is because of smaller proportion sizes due to America’s need to battle obesity in children. This leads to disagreements amongst the school and its students as shown when some students in Wisconsin took to boycotting the school lunches or when kids in Kansas made a music video suggesting that they weren’t getting enough food. Though, luckily there have been new rules set forth to ensure that the actions above never happen again.

Regarding Lincoln-Way East, our school actually has done a lot to change how and what they serve us at lunch. D. Michalak describes how fried foods are no longer served. That’s right! Those fries that are served at lunch are actually baked. You see, under Michelle Obama’s new law concerning the quality of lunches served at school, there have been new guidelines enforced. Just to name a few, LWE can no longer serve fried foods at lunches, everything has to be under or at a certain amount of calories, and the overall quality of our lunches are just better. That’s not to say that everything served to us is bland and tasteless; if you’d take a look around sometime at lunch you could actually find a lot of yummy things.

Now I know what you’re thinking: if a brown bag lunch may not be the best option for me and a school lunch may not be your preference, what do I eat? Probably the best thing to do is be conscious of what you’re eating: make sure you get most, if not all of your essential nutrition needed at lunch. Though having some cookies or chips at lunch won’t hurt because, let’s face it, they taste really good. Hopefully schools can progress into developing better lunches in order to conform to their students’ needs. But in the meantime, just stick to eating a little healthier every day, and you’ll notice a lot of good thing happening like preventing heart disease or high blood pressure-even helping you handle stress better!



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The student news site of Lincoln-Way East High School
Are School Lunches Better For You?