What’s on Your Plate?

Let’s dig in to find out the nutritional value of school lunches at Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School.
March 5, 2024 the school served chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes.They also served whole grain pretzel goldfish, baby carrots, and fruits.
March 5, 2024 the school served chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes.They also served whole grain pretzel goldfish, baby carrots, and fruits.
Perla Ramirez

School Lunches in the U.S. are well known for supposedly being healthy, but how many of us actually know what we are eating? At Oscar De la Hoya Animo Charter High School(ODLH) we are provided with Revolution Foods. Many students opt out of school lunch due to many reasons here at ODLH. How much nutritional value are we actually being told we consume? Let’s uncover the nutritional value of the meals served at ODLH, and if we are actually being fed healthy food. 


In 2010 there was a drastic change in school lunches since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by Michelle Obama. According to the University of Washington School of Public Health, this act attempted to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches and reduce health risks. This led to more vegetables, fruit, low-fat milk, and whole grains. Most would agree that improving the nutritional content of the food that schools provide to students is a good goal, but are schools actually succeeding in this goal? 


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According to Robert Pambello the principal of Oscar De La Hoya High School reveals that school administration doesn’t have much to say about school lunches. “I don’t choose the company, GreenDot chooses the company,” Pambello explains, “What Green Dot does is they put out what’s called an RFP, which says we are in the process of looking for a food vendor that meets these requirements and then they apply and then GreenDot interviews them and then they make a decision of what company it is. So right now we have Revolution Foods.” Revolution Foods claims that its lunch has no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. 


Elena Rosales is a 10th grader at Oscar De La Hoya High School. Elena eats school lunch a few times a week. In the interview, she talks about the school lunch being mostly dry, under cooked, and rarely good. She claims, “The best thing that I have eaten in school will probably be the chicken alfredo. I liked the pasta and the chicken.” This meal that Elena enjoys consists of 420 calories, 30% of saturated fat, 25% of sodium, 0% sugars, 29 grams of proteins, and 19% of total fat. 


Daniela Rojas is a 10th grader at Oscar De la Hoya High School. Daniela rarely eats school lunch, in a month she eats like 3 lunches. Daniela likes the waffles for breakfast, she eats them with a side of honey. This meal that Daniela enjoys consists of 310 calories, 23% of saturated fat, 11% of sodium, 20% of sugars, 5g of protein, and 22% of total fat. She then shares the bad side of school lunches, “I would describe it as very odd, uncooked, and weird palette because odd: there’s just weird combination like for example waffles and nuggets, uncooked: sometimes the meat is squishy, and weird taste: some food that they try to recreate is not how the original taste like.”


Is school lunch healthy? According to Healthline, kids require between 45–65% of total calories from carbs, 25–35% of total calories from fat, and 10–35% of total calories from protein. It seems like the meals that Daniela Rojas and Elena Rosales enjoy are healthy because they fall under the range of total calories of fat  that Healthline provided.


Dec. 13, 2010, Michelle Obama put an act to change the students’ nutrition values to make it more healthy. This had some ups and downs because some students reacted to it badly and some parents appreciated the change. According to the Los Angeles Times, Michelle also did this for issues of obesity.


My opinion on school lunch is that sometimes the breakfast and lunch could be good but then some other things aren’t. For example, I agree with Daniela Rojas that the meat looks fake and tastes weird.


To resolve this issue students can talk to the principal and ask them to provide a survey where they can share their opinion on the school lunch and recommend some of their favorite meals. They can also share their opinion on what the school should change about the lunches.


“I think based on the fact that it needs to meet the federal guidelines, the food is as good as it could possibly be. It’s not like if you go to a restaurant because it doesn’t have to meet the guidelines,” said Mr. Pambello.

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