The healthiness of school lunches is quite the hot topic these days, and the Chicago Tribune takes a timely look at a public school that, aiming for better student nutrition, banned lunches brought from home. Six years ago. And many parents and kids are still voicing their outrage. “Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?” one 7th-grader yelled to a crowd that chanted back, "We should bring our own lunch!" But the way the principal sees it, “it's milk versus a Coke,” she says. “It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve,” as opposed to the chips and soda she's seen kids bring.
While some parents approve, others worry their kids don’t like school food—prompting some not to eat at all. Plus, lunch costs $2.25 for kids who don't qualify for free or reduced-cost meals, and “we don't spend anywhere close to that on my son's daily intake,” says an education expert (whose son attends a different school). It’s “the perfect illustration of how the government's one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again,” says an activist. Left to his own devices, “sometimes I would bring the healthy stuff,” says a second-grader, but sometimes I would bring Lunchables." (Read more school lunch stories.)