What Happened When Parents Tried Their Kids' School Lunches

April 7th 2016

Laura Donovan

A BuzzFeed video of parents eating their kids' school lunches has gone viral and spoken to the larger problem of the poor quality of school lunches in the U.S.

The newly released clip opens with two mothers and one father reflecting on their own childhood memories of school lunches. Though the two moms say their own experiences with school lunches weren't great, they hope to see an improvement in today's lunches. Boy, were they in for a rude awakening.

The first lunch item they looked at was a chicken sandwich:

School lunch

The parents also weren't impressed with this meatball sandwich:

School lunch

Laughs and jokes aside, the parents expressed serious concerns over the kinds of food their children are consuming at school.

The father said the lunch situation is especially alarming for children in low-income households who receive free or subsidized meals at school.

It's no secret that school lunches in the U.S. leave a lot to be desired, especially compared to other nations' school lunches. The American restaurant, Sweetgreen recently published a series of photos comparing U.S. school lunches to those of different countries, depicting a lack of variety and nutrition in U.S. meals.




Homemade and home cooked meals tend to be healthier than takeout, as you likely know what goes into your food. This is why it's important to have a grasp of basic cooking as an adult, but as as ATTN: previously reported, less than a quarter of students in the U.S. take family and consumer science courses, which incorporate cooking lessons, among other practical skills. In contrast, students in Japan, learn basic cooking skills at a young age and carry these habits into adulthood.

Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past three decades, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Picture of pizza slices

With millions of children participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, unhealthy school lunches contribute to the larger issue of childhood obesity in the U.S. Last year, public policy nonprofit the Brookings Institute and the World Food Center of the University of California, Davis published research that found the societal cost of obesity could be more than $1.1 trillion if today's obese children remain obese in adulthood.

"If all 12.7 million U.S. youth with obesity became obese adults, the societal costs over their lifetime would cost $1.1 trillion," Matthew Kassman, a research associate at the Brookings Institute, said at the institute last May. "Even if it weren't morally incumbent on us to care about the life and health of our fellow citizens, our research indicates that we have a clear economic incentive to do so."

You can watch the full BuzzFeed video below: