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The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

[Opinion] School Lunch: Modern Day American Horror Story or Nutritious Meal?

The school lunch is a controversial topic of discussion at Santa Rosa Academy as some students view the lunch as a nutritious valued meal while others view it in a not-so-great light. To get an understanding of if the school lunch is healthy and well-intentioned for students, we first need to get an understanding of what goes into the lunches that over 1,600 students eat per day. Most schools use meal providers that make the meals and give the meals back to the schools for students to eat but more in particular who does Santa Rosa Academy use as their meal provider?

The meal provider is Revolution Foods a company that provides meals for students, their mission statement is “By the nature of what we do as a business, we can have a positive impact with every meal and every community member we serve. We believe providing access to fresh, healthy meals is a key lever to setting students and seniors up for success.” With this mission statement in mind, I do not believe that Revolution Foods is making good on its mission statement by not providing high-quality food for students. Rather, I believe that Revolution Foods provides subpar meals for students not caring about freshness or ingredients.

The meals are pre-made at Revolution Foods and subsequently shipped out with the help of another company Balance Foods. The meals are then delivered frozen and given to our food staff and prepared. 

To try to get a better understanding of how the foods are made I reached out to Revolution Foods requesting information. I reached out twice both with no reply from our food provider with no response from Revolutionary Foods. So, currently, I have no information on the nutritional information except for one phrase on their website that says: “built with nutrition and student satisfaction first, but never sacrificing quality. All meals meet our clean label standards which span  unacceptable additives, artificial colors & sweeteners & harmful preservatives.” 

This image shows the building where the lunches are provided and given to students on a daily basis. (Che’ Marroquin)

The lunches vary between a mix of Italian, American, Mexican, and Korean blends of food. On a normal week, the lunch consists of pizza, pasta, noodles, nachos, and a hot dog. Some of these meals are of considerably better quality than other meals. But what is the quality of the actual meals delivered by Revolutionary Foods? The way it works at Santa Rosa Academy is that school lunches are currently rotated throughout the week and month. The quality of the food varies from day to day but for the most part, is described by students as being “deeply undesirable” and “gross” by anonymous students. 

There are certain rumors about food being inedible. For example, there are claims of rumors of the school beef ziti having mold. Additionally, two years ago, a group of around ten students consumed the school chocolate milk and ended up getting food poising. The student said that a few upperclassmen consumed the milk and got sick having stomach aches for the rest of the day feeling ill.

To understand the school lunch for myself I went by the local cafeteria and grabbed lunch. The lunch was fettuccine alfredo with broccoli and chicken along with an orange, apple, milk, and juice box. When I ate the lunch I found it to be dry, old and stale with no flavor. The fettuccine tasted like Jell-o and the penne tasted like cardboard. The apple was old, soft and mushy while being somewhat brown on the inside. The orange was surprisingly fresh and new, and the milk and juice box was great as always. This was a quick review of the school lunch on a random Thursday afternoon but my review does ultimately matter when compared to the student body.

The fettuccine alfredo pasta with chicken and broccoli is being served and subsequently photographed. The pasta is made and shipped by Revolution Foods. (Che’ Marroquin)

With that how does the student body feel about the lunches being served to them daily? Peter Rocha, a sophomore at Santa Rosa, says, “the only way the lunch is even bearable is with hot sauce lots of hot sauce.” Anthony Marlow, sophomore, gave a more positive take. Marlow said that the burritos, baked beef ziti, cheese pasta, and noodles were “the only decent lunch and everything else is not good.”

Image of the baked beef ziti pasta lunch being unwrapped fresh by a student. The food is an exact replica of the current baked beef ziti lunch we are provided at Santa Rosa.Micah Botticelli, sophomore, simply said, “the food is not good no one likes it, at all.”  He continued, “I don’t, don’t know anyone who does.” It seems as if the majority of the entire student body dislikes the lunch almost entirely. Zackary Nieson, a sophomore, said, “the food is bad nobody likes it.” 

To get a deeper understanding of the lunches I looked over to the neighbors of the Perris Union School District to get more information about the lunch that is served to students all around the district I found this photo of the lunch showing a chicken-wrapped small sandwich with Hawaiian breading and Boba a delicious looking meal that is nutritious and good for students.

A nutritious meal made by Perris High School’s lunch staff. The meal depicts sliced fried chicken with bread, a salad, two crunch wraps, and a yogurt with granola and boba.

Based on everything mentioned, the school lunch is more of an American Horror story than a nutritious meal due to the low food quality and negative student reception. Not to undermine the determination of our school lunch organizers but the student reception along with the quality and reception of the food it seems that the quality of the meals is subpar at best. But still there remain pressing questions that I ask the students.

Do you want to eat quality meals? Do you want to have a balanced diet and understanding of what you eat? Do you want to support local farmers and the environment? If you answered yes then you should be in favor of a call to action for the school to provide healthier school lunches with quality ingredients and sources. We as students should have control of what we eat and our current school lunches should not be unhealthy and unsustainable. According to a Harvard study on school lunches nationwide, unhealthy meals can lead to childhood obesity, diabetes, and other diseases in children and adolescents. Most school lunches, including ours, are often made from processed and imported foods. 

Speaking to the importance of nutritious rich foods and more importantly the absence of them according to one Harvard study contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. School lunches should be nutritious, delicious, and eco-friendly. I want to see a change in our current school lunches and the scrapping of our partnership with Revolution Foods. I want to see fresher more environmentally friendly foods on menus for school lunch and above all else I want to see change.

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About the Contributor
Che' Marroquin
Che' Marroquin, Staff Writer
Che’ Marroquin is a Sophomore who wrestles for Santa Rosa Academy He has been attending Santa Rosa Academy for 11 years. His wrestling weight class is currently undecided but he has wrestled at 182, 195 and 215 before. Outside of school, Che’ enjoys Dungeons and Dragons, computer games, 3-D modeling, and playing guitar. Che’ is an outstanding student with a 3.5 grade point average. In his time, away from school and sports, Che’ enjoys listening to music, spending time with his family and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends on the weekends. 
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    Gray LeeDec 12, 2023 at 11:28 am

    There’s no way Perris gets a better lunch than us I AM NOT OKAY. I literally only eat the fruits for lunch.