Why It’s Time We Take Another Look At School Lunches
Many people agree that school lunches need reform. Food served in school cafeterias has a reputation for being unappealing and unappetizing, and the problem is only getting worse. Students deserve healthy and nutritious food. Here are three reasons that it’s high time we took another look at the school lunch system.
School lunches generate a lot of waste. Fortunately, there are a few easy things that can be done to alleviate this problem. One easy solution is to implement a school food recycling program. Children are able to compost the things that are partially eaten and share the things they haven’t eaten with other students. If you need help getting started, there are companies like Food Rescue who can help you get started. Schools could sell this compost to make some extra money or use it themselves on school landscaping. Leftovers can even be distributed to people in need. According to Grist, these types of programs have proven to be effective tools for reducing waste while doing good for the community.
One of the biggest problems with school lunches is the cost. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to offset these costs. First of all, like mentioned above, schools can sell their compost to make money off of the leftover foods that kids don’t eat. Low-income students can sometimes have a hard time affording school lunches. To ease this burden, consider cooking the school meals from scratch. According to Insteading.com, not only can this be more cost-effective than factory-made processed meals, but it is also much healthier. Schools might also consider creating vegetable gardens to not only save on produce costs, but also to create a learning opportunity for students by allowing them to help care for and harvest the gardens. Some companies are even willing to donate to schools to offset initial costs for building gardens on school grounds.
Lunch is some students’ only meal, especially if they’re from low-income families. However, many children aren’t getting the nutrition they need from their lunches. According to MBi Nutraceuticals, approximately 10 million Americans have iron deficiencies, and 42 percent of Americans are vitamin D-deficient. These problems are made even worse by school lunches, many of which are made from processed foods and other unhealthy components due to budget restrictions. The bottom line is this: Students who don’t eat as well have more difficulty learning. If you don’t eat or only eat junk food, then you can’t concentrate as well. And nutritious food doesn’t have to taste bad. Focus on the flavors of nutritious foods to make them more appealing. Nutritious food can and should be made more accessible to students without compromising on taste.
Students aren’t getting what they need from school lunches. They cost too much, they don’t provide students with the nutrition that they need, and they produce tons of waste. When students’ brains and bodies aren’t nourished, they won’t be able to apply themselves to other parts of their education. There needs to be reform, or at least a conversation, about how we can make things better.