The Reality Behind School Lunches: Cutting Corners

The Reality Behind School Lunches: Cutting Corners

No, Michelle Obama did not personally ruin your school lunches.

There is a topic of conversation around a lunch table in high school that I so vividly remember, and post-millennial students probably too. Michelle Obama, First Lady, had a campaign throughout her time spent in the White House to work on the issue of childhood obesity in America. One way she decided to combat that was set up a set of standards that all schools must abide by in order to provide healthy and nutritious lunches to public school students.

The guidelines for school lunches are as follows:

1 serving of fruit must be provided per school lunch.

1 serving of vegetables must be provided per school lunch, and one dark green, orange, or starchy vegetables per week.

Daily and weekly minimum for meat, or meat alternative.

The guidelines for school breakfast are as follows:

1 serving of fruit must be provided per school breakfast

1 meat or meat alternative must be provided per school breakfast.

Breakfasts must be offered on all school days.

So these requirements don't seem so bad. So why do your school lunches taste and look so pathetic? I can relate, as my senior year of high school, I documented my school lunches frequently, emphasizing their lack of nutrition or flavor. They were overpriced and hardly considered edible at times. I get it, school lunches usually suck, and students often times resort to snack bars and vending machines to eat while at school.

What you do not realize is that this was not Michelle Obama's doing. Michelle did not "ruin our school lunches" nor did she "take away all of our good foods."

These guidelines are enforced through every school district in America, and if schools do not abide by them, they can be held fiscally responsible.

Because schools wanted to alter their lunch program as little as possible while avoiding economic punishment, they resorted to cutting corners and taking away options that seem better. Many schools often resort to outsourcing to companies that run lunch programs instead. A popular and cheap option for school is Sodexo, who have a bad reputation among students for their strange policies, and overpriced food.

When I went to high school, a student could not eat lunch if they did not have enough money in their account, and they would throw that student's tray in the trash. Why put the food to waste when there is a hungry student?

Also, you cannot get two servings of the same fruit or vegetable, or it will not count, and you will be charged for each side separately, which can add up quickly.

Not only that, but serving sizes are often times particularly small. This is because schools must stay within caloric guidelines, while still serving students the meals they prefer, which results in much smaller portions.

This was not Michelle Obama's plan. It was not to serve kids gross meals and charge them several dollars for it. The problem is that schools have to cut corners to make things work without too much change, and that is a problem within the school district and their decision to outsource.

Cover Image Credit: Forks Over Knives

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major


Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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Saying "No" Is OK

It is okay to put yourself first and do what's best for you


It's that time of year again when your days are filled with nothing but class, work, assignments, clubs, extracurricular activities and much more. Your time and brain are going in every possible direction. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if letting go, actually gave you something back? That's right, I am talking about the word no and all it can do for you.

I too, fall into the trap of doing more is better. Having all my time devoted to activities or work is good for me. Taking nineteen plus credits hours somehow makes me a better person, even smarter person. Well, I hate to break it you, and me, that this thought process is extremely detrimental.

There are no rules that say we must do everything and anything. If there are, they are wrong. And that's why saying no is so important.

Currently, I am taking nineteen credit hours. Soon, I am going to make sure that it is sixteen. After the first week of classes, I discovered I was in a class that would provide me with a wonderful education, but it was not counting towards my major. After thinking about it long and hard, I decided that it would be best to say no to this particular class.

Before this year, I would have said, it's okay (even if it wasn't) and muster through the class. To the old me, dropping a class would be like quitting, but I cannot even begin to tell you, and me, how far from the truth that is.

Saying no is brave. Saying no is the right thing to do. Saying no allows you to excel in other areas. Because I have decided to say no, I am opening two more hours in my day. I am relieving myself of work and projects that would add to my already hectic schedule. I am doing what is best for me.

However, there is a part two to this no phenomenon. Continuing with my example, I now have two open hours in my week. The overachiever in me would try to find something to fill it. Maybe another club or activity. Maybe more hours at work or a place to volunteer. And while none of these are bad things to do or have in your life, you are just replacing a time taker with another. When you say no, mean it and don't fill it.

This is your year to say no. Not because you are lazy. Not because you aren't smart enough. Not because you can't. Say no because it is best for you. Say no because it frees you. Say no because you can!

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