Unhealthy Lunches in Chicago Public Schools


Elizabeth Patino

Many Chicago Public Schools (CPS) serve students breakfast and lunch everyday. Public schools are funded by the government and independently are given money by the state or city to provide aid to the schools for the meals. Schools are given certain funds to provide lunches for students and it is not what the lunch staff make, but what they are given to cook that is fed to the students everyday. Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, so students should be given food that is healthy and will maintain their energy throughout the school day until lunch time.

In CPS, the food that is being given to students is not always the healthiest options. For example, at Phoenix Military Academy, we are given pizza on a daily basis along with fries, chicken nuggets, chicken patty or hamburger. Students should have the option to choose healthier lunches and be given foods with less amount of calories that will not impede the health of a child or teenager.

Some people would argue that school lunches are already healthy because it has cut down calories and it offers a “variety” of vegetables to students. At Phoenix, they may offer vegetables and fruits, but there is not always a mixture of many different vegetables during breakfast or lunch.

Yes, CPS does offer fruits and vegetables. However, there is usually more fruits than vegetables provided. As a result, I believe it should be balanced out by having the same amount for both fruits and vegetables. There are times when vegetables are available, but I have noticed that not many students choose from it because it does not always look appealing to the eye or it lacks taste.

Children, for example, should be given even better quality food because, at a younger age, their bones are still developing  and they need sufficient nutrients to grow healthy and strong. My niece also attends a public school and one day I asked her what she had eaten and she had said pizza, fruit, and milk. When I heard that, I immediately thought about how unhealthy she is eating at school, and how important it is for her body because she is growing more each day. School lunches need to be healthier for students because it can affect their life in the long-term.

School lunches need to be healthier because it affects the way students will learn to lead healthier lives. The CPS system is not doing such a great job at keeping it healthy. According to the CPS website, a hamburger served at Phoenix is 260 calories, while at McDonald’s it is 240 calories. I am not saying that we should go eat at McDonald’s (they are both equally as bad), but it just illustrates how the CPS system is unhealthy that we even have more calories in our lunches. It makes our school system an unhealthy eating environment in the certain types of food that it gives to its students.

Students should be given healthy lunches because that will allow them to eat healthier and make better eating choices. The CPS l system should pay more attention to what it is giving its students because not everything is healthy as it should be.

CPS needs to know that everything that we are given to eat for lunch is not always as healthy as they think. They must re-evaluate what they decide to feed children because in the end, the lives of students are what is most important.