Is Healthy Lunch Worth It?

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By Desmond M.

School lunch has been the subject of hot debate for years. Most people can concede that yes, public school cafeterias serve lousy food– especially the students that have to eat it. Often meals are greasy or bland, reheated from frozen packages, made with artificial preservatives or all of the above. Many public figures, such as Berkeley’s own Alice Waters and First Lady Michelle Obama have become activists for healthy lunches at schools. Both have even sponsored the construction of several school gardens across the nation. Waters herself began the Edible Schoolyard garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley.

Advocates for a reform of school cafeteria food say that changing the menus will mean students will be healthier and perform better academically, and some even argue that the food schools serve now could be partly responsible for poor performance in the first place. But other people argue that even if food was healthier, kids wouldn’t want to eat it because they’d prefer the junk food. And even populated cities spend very little on school lunch; CNN reports that San Francisco only budgets $2.74 per child for lunch. Spending the money to design and put into place a lunch plan that is healthy, sustainable, and delicious would mean sacrificing other programs or letting facilities fall into disrepair.

How would you describe the quality of the food that your cafeteria serves?

Should more money/priority be put into school lunch programs?

Why/Why not?

What are some changes you would make to your schools lunch program?

Is it more important for food in schools to be healthy, or for it to taste good?

Would you personally prefer healthier options?

How much money should be spent per child on school lunches?

More/less per kid? Why?


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