As a recent graduate of a Florida high school (class of 2009) school lunch food is fresh in my memory. I’ve only recently began following Mrs. Q’s blog, but it’s made me rethink my lunch time experiences. As a future teacher, I don’t want students coming into my class sluggish and tired, possibly still hungry, from bad school lunches.
My elementary school lunches weren’t all that bad compared to how they are today in elementary schools, middle school still wasn’t very unhealthy except for the occasional rubbery pizza and bland veggies. But middle school was also the introduction to the snack food carts. The tall racks full of chips, snack cakes, and Pop-Tarts, next to the Gatorade and pink lemonades. I indulged in these every once in a while when I had extra money, but I still had my hot lunch.
Then I made it to high school.
In my school’s lunch room, there was a hot lunch line where you could get the usual “rubbery pizza and bland veggies.” Then there were three a la carte lunch lines. One sold ice creams scoops and all the toppings to go with it. While the other two served anything from pretzels and chicken tenders to Pop-Tarts and Doritos.
If I didn’t bring something for lunch, I waited almost my whole lunch time in one of those lines to get some mini corn dogs and fries. Half the time the corn dogs were burnt and the fries not cooked all the way. I lived off of that or chips and snack cakes up until my sophomore year. Then junior year I turned to ordering the nachos and cheese every day. I’m not sure why I or anyone else ate them, the cheese “product” was always a neon color and the chips were stale.
And I knew it was all bad for me. But it was there, so I wanted to eat it.
Recently I went back to my high school to visit a teacher and decided to see if the lunch was any better. Not at all. My teacher and I were talking and both knew if they’d get better, healthier, fresher food in the hot lunch line and got rid of the choices from the al a carte, maybe replacing it with a good salad bar, as well as making water cheaper, then kids would eat much better and function at 100% in class.
I believe that to help students eat healthier lunches we need to get rid of the temptations and bad choices. Nena http://twitter.com/NenaBabyLove