School Lunches: USA v. the World

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School Lunches: USA v. the World

Jacquelyn Northcutt, Writer

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School lunches have a bad rep. No one walks around and says, “oh yeah, this lunch is delicious!” Everyone knows school lunches are terrible, but we continue to buy them. We get used to eating bad food at lunch, so we really don’t think about how bad the lunches are. However, I was recently talking to a group of friends, when one of them mentioned a traumatizing experience with school lunches. A few weeks ago, she bought a sandwich from the cafeteria. When she pulled out her sandwich, the bread was covered in mold! Needless to say, she brings her own lunch to school.

After hearing about my friend’s sandwich, I was skeptical about the lunches. It got me thinking about other schools, and about the quality of their lunches. Do other schools have better lunches than us? If so, where do they live? I did a little digging, and I found something rather disturbing. In other countries, school lunches are something to look forward to! The students are provided with quality food for little to no money! For example, in France, students are served steak, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables. In Italy, students receive locally caught fish, pasta, a baguette, and salad. Brazil provides their youth with pork, vegetables, rice, and beans! It begs the question: why does an American lunch include an old, moldy sandwich or soggy chicken, some frozen fruit and veggies, and a stale cookie?

Everyone hears the statistics of America’s obesity. Over one-third of the kids here are overweight. However, if we look at the lunches that we are being fed, is it really that surprising? We are being served food that was fried, frozen, heated up (sort of), and thrown into a bag. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the lunches being served in America contain a lot of saturated fats, calories, and too much sodium, with little to no fiber and not enough protein (you can view the article by clicking here). The cheeseburgers alone contain ¨more saturated fat than a child should consume in an entire meal¨!

First Lady Michelle Obama has brought a lot of attention to America’s school lunch program, and has actively been trying to fix it. However, I’m still bothered when I hear that children are not a high priority to politicians. The new generation should be regarded as one of the most important issues today. Without children being in the best shape that they can, the advancements we make today will have no impact on the future. Child health cannot be ignored. If you agree with me, have something else you’d like to add, or have a suggestion of something we can write about, please leave a comment below!

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