Why Do Kids Hate School Lunch?

Now that school is starting or about to start across the country, it’s time for parents and kids to iron out what they’ll have for lunch. Many children prefer to brown-bag it, but for busy parents and those who have a hard time buying fresh, healthy fare that is also easy to pack in a lunchbox, the idea might seem like too much hassle. Kids who buy hot school lunch may end up disappointed; there are several reasons why kids these days tend to hate school lunch. Here are some of them.

The Food Doesn’t Taste Good

With many school cafeterias serving hundreds or even thousands of children lunch each day, it’s not wonder that some kids don’t like the offerings. Not every child likes the same foods, and even when an alternative is offered, this can be difficult to work around.

That being said, sometimes school lunch really just does not taste good. With the 2012 regulations limiting the amount of fat and salt allowed in school lunches, many kids are simply just not eating what’s being served. Part of the problem may be that school lunch vendors are not making up for the lack of salt with other seasonings, and kids are finding the food to be bland and tasteless.

In addition, frozen or canned food does not taste as good as fresh, and with so many children to feed, many schools are resorting to convenience foods that kids don’t want to eat. If they have the choice between canned green beans and no vegetable, many kids will choose to throw away their beans, leaving nutritional gaps.

The Portions Are Too Small

In many school districts, high school students are served the same portions that first-graders receive. Even younger kids may find that lunch portions are too small, which means that they’re tired, hungry and don’t have the energy to get through the afternoon. When high school students have after school jobs and sports practice on top of classes after lunch, this is a recipe for headaches, stomachaches and other hunger-related issues.

There Is Not Enough Food to Go Around

One problem that many schools face is that they don’t plan to serve as much food as they need. With hundreds or thousands of students, the kids who eat on the last lunch wave might not even be guaranteed a hot lunch. This leaves them hungry or eating cold sandwiches or whatever the alternate lunch is.

If you are a parent and your kids are complaining about not wanting to eat school lunch, there are a few things you can do. One is to pack their lunches for them or buy food for them to pack their own lunches. Foods like hard-boiled eggs, hard rolls for sandwiches, fresh whole fruit and granola bars will provide the necessary nutrients for kids to stay satisfied all afternoon.


Another is to talk to the school district about their school lunch vendor. Your children should not have to live with too-small portions, food that is not fresh, or, worse, no food at all at lunchtime. My Hot Lunchbox provides healthy, nutritious and ample lunches for students and teachers, so no one will be hungry or wish they could run out for fast food for a second lunch. Talk to your school’s administrators to see whether switching to a lunch service like My Hot Lunchbox would be an option for this upcoming school year.