School lunch is inadequate and unappetizing

Lila Chesser and Francesca Purificato

School lunches are notorious for being unappetizing, and Wilson’s school lunch, provided by DCPS, is no exception. Students are forced to settle for corn chips piled with unseasoned black beans and sticks of dry French toast. Lunch is supposed to fuel students throughout their busy days, but the current meals provided do not offer enough nutrients and are sometimes so unappealing that many refuse to eat.

Some of the lunches over the past few months have been a dry burger with nothing on it, several kinds of mystery meat paired with undercooked rice, and a slice of turkey-based ham with uncooked shredded cheese wrapped in a tortilla. The meat was slimy, the tortilla was dry, and the cheese was hard. 

These clashing textures made for a very unsatisfying bite. A satirical Instagram account documents how pathetic these lunches are, advertising them as “Gourmet Meals of WWHS.” This isn’t to say that there are absolutely no good school lunches, but the general consensus is that school lunches are more of a joke than a source of nutrition. 

While it’s extremely generous that DCPS is willing to provide free lunch, the lunches need to be of a higher caliber in order for them to serve their intended purpose. There is a lunch calendar on the DCPS website detailing what students are going to be served, describing balanced and nourishing meals. Ms. Robinson, Wilson’s cafeteria manager, stated that they “follow the menu, and are given recipes each day.” Therefore it is up to DCPS to improve the resources provided to the cafeteria staff.

According to, every adolescent lunch should contain at least half a cup of fruit, three-fourths a cup of vegetables, and a substantial protein-filled entree. DCPS claims to follow federal nutrition regulations established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 as well as local nutrition regulations established by the DC Healthy Schools Act and Amendment. However, neither of these organizations follow the nutritional standards described by

We understand that the school does not have access to gourmet meals to serve every day, and that’s not what we expect. All students need is something nutritious and somewhat appetizing. It is crucial that Wilson figures out what adolescents need for lunch in order to be successful students. To do so, we encourage those that eat school lunch to send feedback to [email protected].