By Ranya Merchant — Editor-In-Chief
The School Cafeteria is offering free lunch this year for all students, but the food options available have been slim and unsavory.
According to the official lunch menu posted on the high school website, students should be offered assorted deli sandwiches, cheeseburgers, spicy chicken sandwiches, crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from Monday to Friday during lunch. Unfortunately, this advertised variety is not accurate to what is found in the cafeteria on a daily basis.
“Once, I went to get lunch and the only thing available was sliced chicken patties that they were shoving into wheat wraps with cheese,” said Junior Alejandra Aguilar who buys lunch regularly.
The lunch schedule at Sharon High is split into four equal time slots. The first grade that receives lunch is the junior class, followed by freshman, sophomores, and last — seniors. Meals should be rationed equally between each class, leaving enough food for every student to obtain at least one meal. However, this has not been happening effectively as many late lunch-buyers find that there is little to nothing left by the time they arrive at lunch.
Junior Trisha Brahmachari says she has seen only one meal being offered at senior lunch. “The school administration should be providing more options and more food. A lot of times, there is only one choice available because the lunch ladies are trying so hard to save meals for later lunches,” said Brahmachari.
Even on days where there is a sufficient amount of food for students, the food is rarely appetizing or nutritious. Many students, including myself, have encountered meals that were so unpleasant that they have had to discard them altogether.
Brahmachari says she buys school lunch a few times a week and has yet to find a meal that meets her standards. “None of the meals are appealing to eat. A few times, the sandwich I bought was completely rock solid and frozen. I have had to resort to eating cold pizza,” she said.
Aguilar says she has also encountered some odd meals in the cafeteria. “I once got a chicken patty and it was completely pink inside. The cheese on the pizza is always really weird so I just have to get cheeseburgers because they don’t taste as bad as the other stuff,” she said.
Senior Chloe Nguyen says the student’s disgust for the food is exaggerated. “The quality of the food is poor, but it’s not as inedible as people make it out to be,” said Nguyen.
It remains unclear who exactly is responsible for the food shortage, but most students have come to the consensus that the cafeteria staff is certainly not to blame.
Nguyen says the lunch ladies are putting their best effort towards providing proper meals with the resources at hand. “The people in the cafeteria work so hard to accommodate us every single day. I think they are doing the best they possibly can, given what they are,” she said.
Aguilar says the school food service administration is to blame for the poor quality. “Ultimately, they are the ones who buy the food. The lunch ladies-only job is to serve it so it’s not their fault,” said Aguilar.
There needs to be an increase of variety in the lunch menu if students are to enjoy their lunches. For many students, school lunch is the only meal to last them for the entire school day and afterschool activities. It is imperative for the health of our community that the school food is not only packed full of nutrients but appealing as well.
Nguyen says she wishes more meal types were offered. “The biggest problem right now isn’t so much the quality of food as it is the diversity of food available,” she said.
“Tator tots and peanut butter jelly sandwiches are not going to fit with everyone’s dietary needs as a meal every day,” added Nguyen.
Aguilar says she would like to see healthier options, “I see a lot of pre-packaged and frozen food that doesn’t seem nutritious at all,” said Aguilar.
Junior Olivia Nau says the middle school lunch was far better. “I know at the middle school they offer more variety in the salad and a wrap bar. We have a deli here, but even the food in our deli seems unpleasant,” said Nau.