A Father Samples the Cafeteria Lunch at His Son’s School

Lunch from the school cafeteria

Lunch from the school cafeteria


What to have for lunch is always a major concern for parents and kids. Should you pack a lunch? Should you buy a lunch? Are our kids are eating healthy? Is the food tasty? We have to consider all of these factors when deciding what to feed our kids during the school year.

Most days, my wife and I pack lunches for our kids to take to school. This gives us total control over what they will eat. However, my middle son likes to buy his lunch as school periodically. His favorite school lunch item is pizza, but he will select some other items from time to time.

Each year, I have lunch with him on his birthday. On these occasions, I take the opportunity to sample the latest offerings from the cafeteria.

I walked into the cafeteria to find out which dishes were most popular with the kids. I noticed that several of them had bags of  Tostitos Scoops Tortilla Chips. At first, I found it odd that the cafeteria was serving chips as part of the school lunch. I entered the serving line to investigate further.

A cafeteria worker beaconed me over to the serving line and removed the covers to reveal the day’s selections which included nachos (hence the chips), corn dogs, garden salad, and ham and cheese hoagies. I selected the nachos since they seemed to be a hit with the kids.

The worker grabbed a tray poured cheese sauce into one compartment, scooped some taco meat into another compartment, and balanced a bag of chips on the corner.

“Do you want pinto beans?” she asked.

“No thanks,” I said. “The nachos should be enough.”

“You can choose one fruit to go with your lunch” she said.

I looked over my options – raisins, apple chips, peaches, bananas. I selected a tray of the peaches and an extra banana and proceeded to the cash register.

“That’ll be $4.25,” the cashier said ($3.50 for lunch and $0.75 for extra fruit). I was a bit taken aback by the price because it was only $2.75 last year without the extra fruit.

I paid the money and went to sit with my son. He looked at my tray and shook his head.

“I can’t believe you’re going to eat that,” he said.

“I thought you liked nachos?” I asked.

“I do, but not school nachos,” he said. “That doesn’t even look like real meat.” He was right. The meat did look a bit weird, but I was determined to eat the whole meal.

The lunch tasted better than it looked, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. The cheese was runny, the meat was greasy, and the peaches were canned with heavy syrup. The best thing about the lunch was the banana.

I must say that I was disappointed by the lunch choices. I understand the district’s wanting to serve kid-friendly options, but I’d prefer to see healthier entrees on the serving line or at least tastier items.

Stay Strong,

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Question: Have you ever tried the lunch at your child’s school? If so, what was your impression?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at