School Lunch Systems need better options

Dorian Uson, Editor in Chief

    When Michelle Obama was First Lady, she made it her mission to make school lunches healthier and better across all the age groups. It would seem her legacy died when her husband left office.  Some schools no longer offer food that is free of animal products whether the child has an allergy or the parents choose not to feed those items to their children for various reasons (personal, religious, personal).

    Schools in San Diego offer breakfast for children that want to (or need to) eat their breakfast at school. This is a convenient option for parents who need to drop their kids off early or for children who take the bus, and for those who get free lunch and can’t afford breakfast elsewhere. However, these options aren’t healthy. They range from french toast, to sugary cereals, to sausage and cheese pizza. They are served with cow milk and juice, but no provisions are made for children that can not consume lactose. These children get the short end of the stick because they can’t have meal options that are made with milk and can’t have cereal without bringing their own milk or eating it dry.

    Another issue with the food options is that kids are forced to take food items even if they don’t want them. Children are required to get one of each food group, but often this is too much food for a small elementary school child or they simply do not like what their options are. The food ends up in the trash when it could be saved and used for children who do want it or children who are starving and will take anything they can get.

    Forcing children to take food they don’t want almost always ends with the children throwing the food away.  Some schools offer a bin for the children to place the unwanted food into, but many children skip this simple solution. This is teaching kids that not only do they have to pretend they are going to eat what they are given, but that resources are disposable. Children are trained that food has no value when they are told to throw away perfectly good food items. There is a shortage of food in some areas, so for our children to simply throw away food is truly a waste of money and taxpayer resources.

    The public school cafeteria system offers many advantages, but at the same time there is so much wrong with a system that supplies growing children a plethora of unhealthy food at the same time it is wasting food and money that American citizens work hard to earn. These are all things that were still occuring when Obama was first lady and hopefully someone will realize that although the healthy options are better than what used to be offered, there are still many mistakes in the system that need to be fixed.