I do not have fond memories of the school lunches I had as a kid. There was always some kind of protein that was of a questionable origin, vegetables that had been completely overcooked, and some sort of soggy starch, like fries or mushy rice. Those meals of mine were decades ago, but it appears times have not changed.
With all our current collective knowledge about nutrition, the issues with the consumption of junk food, and the power of fruits and vegetables in a growing body, you’d think the quality of school lunches being offered to our children would catch up to what we know.
Fed Up, an arm of Dosomething.org (their goal is to “make the world suck less”), is bringing attention to this school lunch issue. They are asking students nationwide to send in photos of their school meals from the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to “show us the true state of school lunch in the US.” They will take these images and data, and “a report will be distributed to school districts across the country, as well as school nutrition advocates to be used as a tool to make a case for better school lunches in your cafeteria.”
They also urge students to advocate for themselves, giving pointers on starting a conversation with their own schools and lunchroom heads. The fine folks at Fed Up created a very useful advocacy kit, which really is a must-read for any young person that has issues with what their schools are serving them.
Check out some of the images that students have sent in so far:
Pizza, Fries and Ranch 1 of 15
"Pizza, Ranch and Some Fries."
From: Franklin High School, WA
So, where are the vegetables and fruits? Where oh where?!?
Chicken and Waffles 2 of 15
Chicken and waffles with a side of syrup and ketchup. What it lacks in fruits and vegetables, it makes up for with fried foods and carbs.
From: Fairfield High School, CA
Mystery Noodles 3 of 15
From: Raymore-Peculiar High School, MO
Yes, what is in that?!? And the bag of Cheetos isn't helping this meal.
Not Too Bad! 4 of 15
Broccoli, peaches, and a chimichanga — this one looks a-okay!
From: Glendale Unified School District
What is It? 5 of 15
"Slop, mush and gross."
From: East Hamilton High School, TN
Very generous servings, but it still doesn't look very appealing. And the whole "eat the rainbow" motto is not represented here.
Garden Fresh 6 of 15
"Grown in our own garden."
From: Bellingham Memorial Middle School, MA
A great way to teach kids the awesome power of gardening.
Extra Protein 7 of 15
"French Onion Spider Soup."
From: North Warren Regional High School, NJ
A little extra protein in this meal.
Not Very Colorful 8 of 15
"Yum Yum or Not Not."
From: Germantown High School , TN
This is a very carb- and fried-heavy offering. This must be really hard to digest.
Sandwich and Sugars 9 of 15
"Typical high school lunch."
From: Centennial High School , NV
The sandwich may provide some nutrition, but the Chips Ahoy and Capri Sun? Not so much.
Pizza with Goodies! 10 of 15
"Stuffed Crust Pizza Day."
Withrow High School, OH
Sure, pizza may be the star, but there seems to be lots of fruits and vegetables offered, which is a good thing.
What Is This? 11 of 15
"Is this real chicken?"
From: Salem High School, VA
A valid question, but at least there was a generous portion of green beans. But I hope they weren't counting the ketchup as a serving of vegetables...
All Packaged 12 of 15
"Hot Spot Cheap"
From: West-Mec - Dysart High School, AZ
Oh, I would never ever let my kid eat this for lunch. EVER.
Would You Eat This? 13 of 15
Nothing about this looks attractive ... at all.
From: Southeast High School, KS
Nuggets and What? 14 of 15
No vegetables on this one, and one has to wonder what the white orb is. It looks like a mound of mashed potatoes taking a bath.
From: CD Hylton High School, VA
A Good Example 15 of 15
Turkey, kale and cauliflower, and an apple. Now THAT is a good lunch!
From: University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI
Photo Source: FedUp and DoSomething.org