How Healthy is Your School Lunch – What Are You Actually Eating?

Riya Dasgupta, Staff Writer

School Lunches. We all have them and hear about them. From the Hawaiian pizza to the chicken burgers, IHS offers an array of nutritious choices for students’ lunches. Or does it? Just how healthy is the food served at IHS, and should you or should you not be eating it? Short answer: no. Long answer: it is complicated.

While the reality of nutrition levels here at IHS is a controversial topic, so are students’ opinions. Many think that the food can be good, just that the lines can get too long for students to buy lunch every day. However, there are others who have had bad experiences with lunch in past years, and do not want to deal with the notion of having someone unknown make their lunch. Sophomore Audrey Beaver states that she has “had bad experiences in the past with elementary and middle school lunches, so I generally try to avoid them.” Additionally, even though many students do enjoy the food served here at IHS, nearly everyone thinks that the food is unhealthy and bringing lunch from home is healthier. Senior Tyler Innes states that “bringing lunch from home [is healthier], just because you know what ingredients you are using compared to when you get a school lunch.“ Many of the students at IHS think that the food served here is processed, unwholesome, and contains chemicals. Is this true? A key player in the creation of the food process at IHS was questioned to find out:

An anonymous lunch lady at IHS who knows all about creating nutritious lunches for the school agreed to meet with me to disclose the inner workings of the lunch creation process. Every day for lunch, our school serves chicken burgers, spicy chicken, fries, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, hot lunches, and other items not made by our kitchen staff. One of these things is the school pizza. We have all heard about the school pizza here at IHS. From Hawaiian to veggie to cheese to meat, the school pizza here is most students’ go-to lunch. But what is the reality behind the beloved slice of pizza? The lunch lady states that, contrary to student’s opinions and ideas about the school lunches, “Our pizza actually comes specially made from Pizza Hut, so it is filled with all kinds of nutrients and is not like your regular piece of pizza.”

Just because the pizza here is healthy and packed with vitamins does not mean that the other food is too. However, the chicken burgers, spicy chicken, fries, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and various hot lunches also in the clear. The lunch lady says that all of these different food objects are chosen by “…The administrator, food service managers, people who are not even at school – these are district regulations for food service.”

Even though the food here is district approved, nutrient packed, and fully equipped to help students learn throughout the day, how well is the cleanliness of the IHS kitchen managed? When asking the lunch lady on what a day-to-day in her job looked like, she states that “after I come in, the first thing I do is clean up and sterilize everything. After that, everyone splits up into their different jobs and so everyone is doing something different. I personally make the different sandwiches, things like PB and J, turkey, ham, tuna, and egg salad. Then, I start helping cook and prepare the chicken burgers. During all this we usually wash dishes in between jobs, fill all the drinks up, things like that.”

It seems that the food, the kitchen, and all the different dishes and pots used to make IHS’s school lunch are clean and healthy. So does this mean it is healthier to buy lunch instead of bringing one? After giving them the information in this article, students were again asked on what they thought about IHS school lunches. Junior Katie Bendt says that she still thinks that “bringing lunch [is healthier], because it can fit to anyone’s dietary needs they might have. I am an athlete, and while it is interesting that the school lunches are healthier than people think, it is still better for me to bring lunch from home.” Other students still seem to feel the same way. Freshman Katie Dillion states that “for me, it would still be bringing lunch since I usually pack just some veggies and hummus, but it really depends on the person.”

While bringing lunch from home might be the preferred option among students, it turns out buying lunch can be just as healthy as bringing one. If you ever find yourself accidentally without a lunch, you can always turn to the IHS School lunches as a nutritious option! For more information on the school lunch menu, you can go to or .