Editorial: BFMS lunches stack up poorly

Since the start of the school year, there have been recurring issues with the middle school lunches, and The Dolphin Tail staff feels strongly that we touch upon this subject.

Students in the past have complained about the low-quality lunches served in the cafeteria: for example: watery “chili” containing very little-to-no meat and vegetables.

Sure, the school eventually “improved” the lunches by adding gummy worms, chips and soda, but really: Is that doing any good for the health of the students?

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to institute healthy lunchtime meals for students all across America. Don’t you think it’s time we work with her to help make a change, starting with our own school?

It is necessary that every student gets the nutrition they need to focus on learning. Many students at Bay Farm who buy school lunches regularly go hungry, due to the lack of nutrition in the food, as well as the lunches’ unappetizing appearance playing a big part in whether students eat their bought lunches.

Sixth-grade teacher Joni Reynolds expressed that “it’s frustrating when kids come back to class and we teachers find out that the kids didn’t get what they ordered, so they didn’t eat at all or took something they didn’t want.”

We realize that the school does have a salad bar, but from looking at the wilted lettuce, we understand why this option hasn’t gained much popularity. Nobody wants to eat that. As for some of the other vegetables and fruits offered, they’re often covered in fatty sauces or sugary syrups, which is not very healthy at all. This is mainly why students chose to not take fruit or vegetables from the salad bar during lunch.

Mrs. Reynolds said that she also buys lunch on occasion. She observed that some of the cafeteria food looked appetizing, but others at a glance made her feel as if going hungry was the better option. As you can see, even the teachers are disappointed in the quality of the food.

Students from other countries seem to have it better than we do. We found many examples of quality lunchtime meals all across the world. Below are some real school lunches served in school cafeterias around the world. Let’s start off with something close to home…

American Lunch 2

… a typical American lunch. Chicken nuggets, applesauce, milk, all of which we eat on a daily basis at school. Do you see any nutrition here at all? Well, you can count the applesauce, but, really, that’s the only semi-healthy option here.

Next, let’s take a trip around the world and look at the quality of food the students elsewhere receive.

Swedish Lunch

Here is a typical school lunch in Sweden. This lunch comes with a salad, a healthy drink, and a type of meat, such as fish or beef, usually served hot. Do our school’s lunches look this delicious?

French LunchTake a look at this lunch. This is part of a typical four-course lunch in France. Granted, we don’t have four courses in America, but the lunches here are significantly healthier than ours.

Japanese Lunch

Look at this typical cafeteria lunch from Japan. A type of salad in one corner, a healthy soup in the other, complete with white rice and a drink. Healthier than any lunch we’ve ever seen at Bay Farm.

London Lunch

Think this looks wonderful? Well, this is a typical lunch served in England. A beef stew with corn and peas. This is enough to keep any student focused for the rest of the day!

Let’s end on a school lunch we’re all too familiar with:

American LunchAfter seeing all of these delectable and healthy school lunches from everywhere but America, have we convinced you enough that something’s got to change? This, right here, is one of the reasons that America has such a problem with obesity. Do you see any nutrition of any kind on this tray except the small corner of what looks like canned peaches? I think we all know the answer.

“The only way you can be sure of getting a good lunch is to just pack it yourself,” Mrs. Reynolds said in conclusion. She said that this is an age-old battle that she was fighting for in her elementary years.

The district is trying to do everything they can, but it’s just not enough. We students need to fight this battle for ourselves and for future generations that will pass through this school in the future.

Help us achieve what we students deserve. Instead of just complaining about how our school lunches don’t taste very good or don’t look too appealing, we need to do something as a school community to make change happen. Contact the Alameda Unified School District and let them know what you think:

Rowan EsquerRowan Esquer is the editor-in-chief of The Dolphin Tail. Her editorial represents the collective opinion of The Dolphin Tail newspaper staff and does not intend to represent the views of any other person or persons, including Bay Farm School and its staff or administration, or the Alameda Unified School District. Opinion submissions from Bay Farm’s school community, staff and students (of all grades) are welcome and will be considered; send to the editor at BayFarmDolphinTail@gmail.com.

Reader feedback on this editorial:

The lunches are not that good. I bought once last year and it was horrible. We need to come close to having lunches similar to France or Japan where they get good food that is at least partially healthy. Our lunches offer a salad, but when everything gets mixed together it is very unappetizing, that leads to kids not getting it which leaves no health in our lunches. Some people just buy gummy worms for lunch because it is now a middle school privilege. It would be better if they got a lunch, a salad, and some dessert because it is healthy. We just need new lunches.
– Anonymous

When I was younger, I used to buy the Bay Farm school lunches nearly every day! But as I’ve grown older, the food quality and health standards have swayed me to take a lunch from home almost every day! I understand it’s not really the school’s decision, but the school district’s. If we improved the school lunches, in both nutritional value and taste, I guarantee you I would be buying school lunch. School lunch is easier and quicker!
– Kyle Wonzen, 7th grade

I found the article on the various school lunches quite interesting. It was well written, and well documented by the photos and information on school lunches served in other countries, etc. Boy, the lunches here sure pale by comparison.
– Jan Christiansen, Bay Farm grandparent

I like the school lunch article. I also complained to the AUSD food service about the quality of the fruits and have not received any response. If we can organize a group of students to the education board meeting and tell the board members how the students feel about the food and what they want, we may get their attention.
– Y.C. Yeung, parent