Students Push for Tastier School Lunches

Apr 18, 2014

Ruston High student Madison Wooley's "selfie" with Sen. Rick Gallot
Credit Madison Wooley

“The food is not very tasty, at all.”

“The food’s so disgusting.”

“The cafeteria food is nasty.”

These students from Ruston and Central high schools aren’t just bellyaching about their school lunches, they’re testifying before Louisiana’s Senate Agriculture Committee. They’re hoping to advance a resolution they initiated.

Senator Rick Gallot of Ruston filed the measure. He says he was guest lecturing a high school civics class, and put the students on the spot.

“If you could change any law, what would it be?” Gallot says he asked the class. “And I believe the first idea that came up was, ‘make tastier foods in the cafeteria’.”

The resolution asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do just that. The USDA is responsible for the national school lunch program, and in 2012, that agency changed the menu guidelines. Now students are being served more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The foods are lower in fat, and portions are limited—all in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

“I like to eat, I really do,” chuckles Central High student Josh Bogan, as the committee room full of students laughs along with him. “But I have to buy more than one portion to satisfy my hunger, with a patty that is as thick as this sheet of paper here.”

Central High teacher Christina Wilbert says she believes another change is prompting most of the student complaints.

“They don’t put any salt in the food, and they don’t offer salt—or pepper—for them to put on the food,” Wilbert tells the committee. “There’s no seasonings in it.”

By far, the biggest complaint was about the bread. Now it is always whole wheat.

“Maybe giving us back the white bread would help,” says Madison Wooley, a young lady from Ruston High.

Committee chair Francis Thompson asked for a show of hands.

“How many want the white rolls?” he asked.

Every student’s hand went in the air, as several shouted, “White rolls—yeah!”

The Agriculture Committee unanimously approved the resolution to request tastier school lunches.