How can Longfellow School Lunch be Better?



The lunch bell has rung at Longfellow Middle School, and students are rushing into the lunch line, but they don’t realize that the process of preparing their lunch started hours ago.

According to the Cafeteria Manager Rosario Ampuera, the staff starts preparing lunches early, washing the veggies and fruits, and prepping the hot food which requires a longer time to cook.    The process usually takes around 5 hours, including washing pots and pans and cleaning.  It typically takes 

Despite the hard work, students aren’t shy about giving their opinions on the food, and contrary to popular belief, some of them even like the food.

“I think the school lunch isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is,” said a 7th grade student who eats school lunch daily. “The school lunches have a nice flavor, but they could be more healthy.” 

Another student suggested maybe replacing the mac and cheese or grilled cheese with something like a tuna sandwich for a healthier meal. 

School entrees range in nutritional value. The FCPS Nutrislice website provides nutritional information on the food served at Longfellow. According to the site, the cheese pizza contains 310 calories, 360 milligrams of sodium, and 22 grams of protein, which is considered low sodium and low calorie. 

However, the baked cheese sticks with marinara sauce contain over 980 milligrams of sodium and only 16g of protein. When paired with other items to create a full meal (for example, baked beans), the meal can contain 1320 milligrams of sodium, over half of the 2300 grams recommended by the FDA.

As for sugar, students have the option of buying cookies and chips with their lunch. Students often purchase two or even three dessert options which further adds to the amount of sodium and sugar in school lunches. Hudson H. eats school lunch daily and claims that he gets three cookies every day. 

Cookies contain 11g of sugar. Three cookies contain 33g of sugar, which is 8g more than the daily recommendation. Cheetos Baked Cheese Flavored Snacks contain 240 mg of sodium. Three of these contain 720 mg of sodium, which added to the school lunch is 2040 mg of sodium in just one meal. 

It is worth noting that the school itself does not have a lot of choice in the options available, the menus are determined by the county.