September 28th, 2012
03:23 PM ET

Pictures inspire school lunch boycott

By the Schools of Thought Editors

(CNN) New federal guidelines are requiring school lunches to be healthier, but many kids say something is missing: Quantity, and more importantly, taste.

In this video from CNN affiliate WDIV, a student's pictures of unappetizing school lunches have led to a brown bag movement in his school.

CNN Student News asked its audience of middle- and high-school students and teachers if they've noticed changes in their school lunches this year, and if those changes were for the better or worse. Here's a sampling of their responses:

Jonas: I have seen a huge difference in my school's food this year. I don't have enough food to eat and as an athlete, I need all the energy I can get. I feel sluggish and tired. I feel I was better off with the old food. Don't get me wrong, people do need to change their eating habits, but the government doesn't have to tell us how to eat.

Maddie: I completely agree with limiting school lunch calories. People are consuming calories, but not working them off. This can cause obesity... and I cringe at the percentage of American obesity be 2030.

Alivia: At our school we have to take fruit and milk even if we don't eat or drink them and just throw them away. This is partially a waste because some people just throw them away, but on the other hand it is good to tempt kids to try fruit and get that in their system for the day.

Ryan: Our school lunches have changed for the worse. Do they really think that one piece of pizza and an orange plus milk would feed us? Well it didn't feed me; I would still be hungry right after lunch was over, so now I bring my own lunch. That way I won't be starving at my football practice.

Mr. Hartrick's 2nd period class: We think that school food is not enough to eat because sometimes the school food is not very appetizing and some children will throw their food away and be hungry later. Most students bring their lunches nowadays because they don't like the food that the school serves. In a way the school is losing money because less kids are getting school food.

Jared: I think it's a perfect amount of food but the food is too bland. It needs some spice or something.

Jordan: With time, students may end up getting used to it. Of course with a sudden change in food portions, we're bound to feel something different (empty stomachs). Suggestion being: Just be patient, you'll grow and adapt to what's given.

Andrea: I teach high school. Due to the new restrictions many students have quit buying school lunch, and either bring food in with them in their book bags or don't eat lunch at all. We have many students, particularly athletes, who are starving by mid-practice because their school lunch wasn't enough to keep them full through practice. Students are also choosing to spend money in the vending machines rather than pay for food that they don't like and don't want to pay for. The quality and taste of the food has been affected along with the change in portion size. On average, a teenage boy can burn up to 1,000 calories in a day. Limiting school lunch calories is not a smart way to ensure academic success...How can a student perform well when he or she is hungry? School used to be the one place a child was guaranteed NOT to go hungry. Since these changes, we see many – and I'm talking TONS - of kids going hungry.

Elizabeth: It depends on the person to be obese, not the government to decide for you.

You can read more responses on the CNN Student News blog "From A to Z with Carl Azuz" here.

Has your school seen changes in its lunch menus this year? You can share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Filed under: CNN Student News • School lunch
soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. Joe Mendes

    Its not enough to fill me up for practice after school, The food has drasticially changed this year and not in a good way, kids all over are striking against the food, there is a strike at my school tomorrow

    October 8, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  2. Dillon

    They should bring the old school lunches back because, they will never learn how to make healthy choices by them selves when they are older, because they are not going to have the government following them around telling them what and what not to eat.

    October 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
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    October 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  4. O.S. (= I love dance

    Uggh. School lunches disgust me. People are sick and ridiculously lazy to be cooking that as pizza!!!!!!! I think I'm gonna vomit over the computer screen.

    October 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • AJ

      That pizza picture was a slice of bread, cheese and reduced fat pepperoni.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  5. Ashlyn

    Personally, I’ve been bringing a packed lunch to school daily. I think I’ve only consumed a school lunch once this year- and I don't think it was bad- but because of how little I have tasted the school lunches I can’t really tell you much. However, I have heard people make comments about the food the school provides. I hear people comment that the food isn’t good. I do think that people throw untouched food away, which is waste of food as well as a waste of money. It is good that the government cares about American health, but I don’t know if this method will work.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  6. Garrett

    School lunches are certainly changing; but i believe for the worse. Bizarre portions and unappealing food make for a bad combo, and the fact that my school uses the FDA food is worse. They just unpack a box and give us the food after reheating it, not to mention how unhealthy that food is to begin with. The bottom line; if you're going to be restrictive about school lunches, at least make them good (and relatively healthy).

    October 3, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  7. funnysketchcomedy

    Well I Really haven’t seem much of a change at all. Actually in my opinion they’re starting to look bigger than they used to look. I haven’t bought lunch this year at all but that’s normal for me. Portion size and taste haven’t changed that fact. I remember tasting some of the food however (given to me by friends) and it tasted perfectly fine. And the size seems big enough to fill up anyone’s tummies as long as they aren’t like sumo wrestlers or something. And about wasting the food maybe THAT’S why the kids are so hungry because they don’t choose to eat it. Maybe they have enough food but they are just throwing it away instead of eating and enjoying the food and complaining about it later on in the day. Yeah you’re going to be Hungrier later in the day but everyone gets hungrier you can’t just blame the schools lunches for that!

    October 3, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  8. Anonymous

    I agree with some of the changes that were made to school lunches. However, with the changes came raised meal prices and food that tastes terrible. School lunches were not that great before, but now they are a lot worse. I realize that kids other places might not have food and we are lucky to have school lunches available. All I can say to the comments of taking a sack lunch to school is that in the morning and even at night, there is not always time to be packing a lunch. With all the homework we get, it is a bit hard to get free time. The only reason I came across this article was for a school project. Every extra minute of sleep I can get is usually more important than actually being able to eat food for lunch. Some of the food at school is so bad you can not stand eating more than one bite of it.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  9. ganan

    Is Michelle Obama listening??? One size (or meal) does NOT fit all. Your "cause" is a complete failure, just like your husband's presidency. Nice work.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Bermille

    Admit it, you're 30.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  11. JudyB

    Before you through out what you for got for lunch ... have the school provide a place for you to put that food and anyone who feels they didn't get enough can go and help themselves to what you choose to through out. Read Neeb's comment to.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Eli

      It is unsanitary to have students picking off what other students didn't want, they should just allow the kids to take what they want and those who are still hungry can go up for seconds if there is anything left. Otherwise I went all the way through school without ending up getting fat with the lunch program the way it was, students bringing their own lunches due to lack of flavor definitely will not fight obesity.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:52 am |

    The eating habits of today's kids are horrid. You cannot grow straight and strong on mac and cheese, pizza and french fries. The problem begins at home with parents to lazy to prepare decent helathy food from the start. And athletes need to brings power bars, or granola bars to school to eat before practise. When I was a kid you did not spend all day stuffing your face, you ate a a decent meal and got over it.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bermille

      Many of these kids probably do not eat school lunches anyway.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ralph M

      I agree with you....also when i was a kid, we went out to play instead of sitting in front of a tv set.
      My son told me that the lunch in school was nasty when he was in the first grade. I went there to have lunch with him one day. It was nasty, and i threw it away. He has brought a balanced lunch from home since.

      October 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mishi

      They serve mac and cheese pizza and french fries in schools, so don't act like its their own fault when they get the same thing at school.

      October 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  13. larry5

    You must understand that the Obama administration knows better than ordinary citizens what people should do and how they should behave and of course what children should eat for lunch. In fact they have an expert to advise them, the First Lady. The Administration knows that they can take care of you if you'll just shut up and get in line. Once you parents send you children to school they will be taken care of. This will relieve you of a lot of work and responsibility. Life is good under the Obama administration. Your welfare check is direct deposited, you CBT card is automatically updated and you'll get an Obama phone. Better yet the schools will get hour child's head in the right place and babysit them every week day, long enough for you and your significant other to toss back a few beers or have that wine cooler. Obama promised he'd fundamentally change America and he's delivering. Why would you vote for anyone else?

    October 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Eli

      your just an idiot

      October 2, 2012 at 1:54 am |
      • Tom

        FAIL. If you're going to call someone an idiot, use proper spelling.

        October 2, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Guest

      People like you are ruining society, all this democratic non-sense, have you even looked over the Obama care plan? If Obama is re-elected he plans to implement micro chips in the arms of all willing, if not willing, you can not be paid money. This system is wrong, the government will have all access to our private money and ID, yes, slowing crime it may do as it has gps tracking, but you can NEVER stop conflict and defile. Think twice about bringing up democracy, theres nothing to praise about Obama other than the respect for him as another human.

      October 2, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • Guest

        He was being sarcastic.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. dylan

    i disagree with you jaylah

    October 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  15. neeb

    STOP WHINING you lucky kids. You live in a country that feeds you nutritious food. Most countries don't do that – most don't do ANYTHING to help their kids thrive. Still hungry? Have you PARENTS pack a snack for you. Or better yet: do it yourself.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Guest

      The real question is... Can a poor 13 year old of below or normal weight, who cannot afford to eat anything else, exist on 1 oz of protein for their main meal without experiencing damaging muscle & organ shrinkage? The answer is... No.
      These effects of malnutrition were exactly what this program was created to combat. This is what happens when we start allowing politician's wives to ignore solid medical facts about teenage nutritional needs, & pervert a program that is based on the PREVENTION of malnutrition. Kids already try fad diets, we do not need a mandatory one!

      October 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Loki of Asgard

      Those meals are anything but nutritious

      October 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  16. rainey

    the goverment shoudnt tell us what to eat

    October 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Dyslexic

      The government doesn't tell you what to eat. Bring you own lunch if you don't like what you’re receiving for free.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • Mary Roman

        Since when are school lunches free??

        October 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • Mishi

        School lunches aren't free students are forced to pay for it.

        October 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
      • Chris

        They are free if a students parents income falls below a certain level. For some of these kids, free lunch is the most nutritious and filling meal they get all day.

        October 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • grandma

      Just one more step in Government Control of our lives.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  17. Kendall and Briani

    What I think about school lunches is they should have more food and more food that we actually eat out of school.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  18. dylan

    Most people at are school are wasting all the food the people made for use to eat. I agree because mo
    st people at are school are over weight.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  19. Jaylah

    Kids throwing away good food dosen't seem right. If you dont know what their having the next day go on the school website and see what thier having or just bring your lunch insted of throwing away good food.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Guest

      Some of these kids are homeless. Some of these kids will only get this food today. Some do not have any other food to bring. If it does not feed them enough to survive, what should they do if they cannot ask for more of the parts they need to live?

      October 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  20. jodie

    i think what they are doing will help the children and teens of our school will less gaining weight and increase loosing it

    October 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Guest

      The only problem is when your hair starts to fall out from malnutrition, you do not get to stop dieting. Go for that organ damage!

      October 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
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