School Food: Living Up to the Negative Stereotypes

School Food: Living Up to the Negative Stereotypes

With thousands of students attending North Hollywood High School, many of them rely on the food served at the school for their daily meals. It is extremely important for students to be served meals that are not only healthy and provide the proper nutrients for them but that are also enjoyable to eat to some extent so students will be able to eat food and not simply throw it away. From certain student responses, it seems like the school food served on a daily basis seems to be sub-par and not as enjoyable as it should be for students to get the proper meals they need.

Students who get meals at the school, whether it is breakfast, lunch, supper, or all three, give their opinions on how good the food served tastes and whether they enjoy eating it or not. Certain questions regarding hygiene also come up, with some of the food served to students looking unwashed and dirty which is a huge code violation. Many of the meals served also seem to barely meet the recommended CDC nutrition intake, if they meet it at all.

“The breakfast seems to get extremely repetitive and bland, causing many students to opt out from getting it” stated Somara Oliva, who is a senior at the school, when she was asked what she thought about the breakfast served. It seems the most common meal that is served to students every morning is a package of granola with a side of either low fat or chocolate milk. As shown in the image below of what should go into a breakfast provided by the CDC, only a grain and milk is provided during most mornings, causing a huge lack of fruits, vegetables, and proteins for

students to consume. Although the granola meal is not served every morning, the trend of the breakfasts served at the school not meeting nutritional recommendations seems to continue with every breakfast served.

The school lunch does not seem to be much better than the school breakfast either, with Victor Montes, a student at North Hollywood High School stating “There isn’t enough to go around and the options for lunch are subpar at best.” Although the school lunch usually meets the CDCs recommendations for what should be served within a school lunch, many times it is not extremely appetizing and is given in very small portions causing some students to remain hungry after eating. The picture below displays the typical meal served,  and as you can see, the portions seem fairly small and the food does not look extremely appetizing. 

When asked what she thinks of the school food, Alexis Gomez stated that “it’s alright but I prefer buying chips from the student store than eating the school food provided.” Although the lunch served is completely free, it is not shocking that a lot of students are choosing not to eat it, with many of the meals like the one below looking and tasting extremely unappetizing. A lot of times, the food seems to be old and reused from previous days, causing certain students to not bother even trying it. The lack of repetition also leads to yet another issue, which is the fact that many times, there is not enough food to go around for everyone. 

Victor Motes, who was quoted earlier, went on to say that “The school food should be made in enough quantity in order to feed everyone that gets school lunch, and it shouldn’t be able to run  out until the end of the lunch period.” Students should never have to worry about there not being enough food to go around for everyone and the fact that certain students are worried about this should raise concerns. If a certain student does not get to the cafeteria earlier during the lunch period, there is a possibility that they will be stuck with some kind of generic meal like yogurt and granola for lunch, impacting the necessary nutritional intake that a student would need. 

Recently, an incident with the school grapes caused Ivan Meza, a student at the school to say “It was disgusting to see since many students eat that thinking it is fully clean.” With the grapes that were served to the students during one of the lunch periods looking extremely discolored, my friends and I decided to test how clean the grapes really were. We took an empty plate, put in some of the grapes, added clean drinking water, mixed everything around, and the results were shocking. The water instantly turned darker with dirt particles very clearly showing. Unwashed fruit served to students can lead to a huge health hazard and may even lead to some students getting sick because of eating it which will lead to much bigger problems like potential lawsuits for health code violations. The school needs to take hygiene much more seriously when it comes to the food being served to students.  

Similar to the breakfast and lunch, the supper served is not much better either, with Emily Ilan, who is also a student at North Hollywood High School stating, “In terms of the supper, for example, there are many kids who rely on that food for dinner each day and what they are getting seems far from nutritious. I am concerned that the food LAUSD serves can contribute to obesity and other health issues from the unhealthy food they provide.” She could not be closer to the truth since many of the suppers served do not provide much nutritional value. 

Sonia Arabchyan, also a student at North Hollywood High, went on to say that she was not even aware supper was being served at the school, leading one to believe that it is not being advertised extremely well. 

Overall, it is clear that there are necessary improvements that should and need to be made to the school breakfast, lunch, and supper served. Many students depend on the food that is served to them at the school, and it is not fair to them to be served distasteful meals with minimal nutritional value and a lack of hygiene when serving everything.