Not so Healthy School Lunches


Giana Cutenese, Staff Writer

Has pizza become our best option for a school lunch? How are we benefiting in any way? Approximately 69% of Americans are overweight or obese and our diet is one of the causes. 

Everyday in the cafeteria the main meal is covered in grease, lacking any protein, or any nutritional value. Although the meals have to meet certain health qualifications, how low have we dropped these standards? We have varied options besides the main meals but even the alternatives do not have a lot of nutritional value. For example, salads may seem like a very healthy option for those trying to become healthier or for the people who are just trying to watch what they are eating. However, the chef salads offered to us are quite limited. The protein, if any, is chewy and half the time gets taken off or thrown away anyways. 

In my opinion, a very beneficial method we could apply to our cafeteria is a healthy bar. This would include foods such as: oatmeal, greek yogurt, fresh fruits, different protein shakes and bars, chicken, rice, or salmon. These options could change or stay constant. I think if we tried this we could see how many people consistently picked this option so we could avoid making 

excess food and wasting. The amount of people who buy lunch just to get the one part of the lunch they actually wanted is crazy. If we had more of a ‘build your own’ style of eating less food would be wasted and people would select what they actually wanted. 

Although this may seem like an unreasonable request to some, this is not far out of reach. Schools like Mt. Lebanon and NA have taken steps to increase their variety and offer healthier options. For example, Mt. Lebanon has a chef cuisine line. This line varies weekly. Options include selections like a wing bar, a fiesta taco and burrito line, a breakfast bar and lastly a burger bar. Through this the students can select what they truly want for lunch. NA has a similar bar. Every day vegetarian and gluten free options are available and occasionally a taco bar and pasta bar are offered as well. This setup allows for the students to select just what they want. 

Many may say that the food options taste good and fulfill their hunger which is absolutely right. But if we form bad eating habits as children how are we supposed to escape those as we get older? In no way am I saying that we should turn the entire cafeteria into a health clinic but by eliminating food options with too much sugar or are too unhealthy many people would be

almost forced to take action in bettering their lives. This idea of a healthy food bar also would not have to be applied to everyone, only the ones who would like to give it a try. 

I strongly believe that many people would take advantage of the opportunity to build their own foods through this technique. Whether it’s a salad bar, yogurt parfait bar, or simply a build your own protein bowl, those wanting to benefit themselves and become healthier would have the opportunity to do so.