Students comment on HCPSS school lunch options 

By Morgan Prater

Staff Writer

Pictured above: one serving of HCPSS school lunch

Many students that go to a Howard County Public School have had the school lunch and have noticed the loss of variety in the options this year. A couple years ago, schools used to have more options including cookies, sparkling water, barbeque subs, and nachos.

Now, it seems like the lunch options are always the same. There only appears to be pizza and chicken nuggets and occasionally, mozzarella sticks. There is nothing wrong with these options, but there is no more variety. 

Another problem with the lunch is the portion sizes. Many students feel as though they aren’t receiving enough food for lunch. This is unfortunate considering the fact that for some people, this is their only meal of the day. The reason for small portion sizes is most likely because of Covid-related health risks and problems with getting more shipments of food in stock.

However, the portions have always been pretty small, even before the pandemic. When you go out to eat, you would most likely eat more than one slice of pizza and you would most likely get a drink other than milk.

This seems to be more of a problem for high school students because we require more nutrition. Student athletes usually eat more and these proportions are simply not enough.

The variety, or lack thereof, of drink options is another issue that should be addressed. The drinks that come with the lunch are usually milk, apple juice, or orange juice. Once again, there is nothing wrong with these options, but more could be added. Many people are lactose intolerant, so they can’t have the milk option, and others might not like apple or orange juice.

The drinks also come in small cartons that are not reasonable for students over the age of 10. Before the pandemic, our lunch had sparkling water drinks that were similar to sodas. They had many different flavors and the majority of people in the cafeteria drank them. Schools should not have introduced different drink options if they were going to then take them away.

Portions are probably small because that’s all the schools can get shipped to them, and there are likely less options because the school wants kids to be healthier, but students are hungry and this is not beneficial to them.

Four mozzarella sticks should not be considered a full lunch. I know that schools are capable of much more because I have seen private schools have more food options.

When asked about school lunch, senior Melanie Leid said, “The portions are small. I am still hungry after eating the school lunch.”

There needs to be bigger lunch portions and a larger variety of food offered throughout Howard County Public Schools.