In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law. It required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make school lunches more healthier by reducing the amount of sodium, fat and sugar in meals. It was the first major change made to standards in 15 years.

(Valueline, ThinkStock)
A study published in 2014 by
researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, found that since the new standards went into place students are eating 23 percent more fruits and 16 percent more vegetables.
Rose Tricario, director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition, said since now schools all over the Garden State are stressing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and meat-alternatives in their lunches, and the effort is paying off.

“School meals are healthier than ever now. Schools are making great efforts to offer dishes that kids love,” she said. “They have worked towards getting kid-friendly meals into the lunch program.”

However, many high school kids don’t agree, describing the school lunch as “nasty.”

"Most of the time people just buy chips and stuff and don’t even buy lunch,” said one Ewing student. “They’re not happy with what they get, and most kids they go for the unhealthy choice because it’s the tastier choice, that’s why.”

The student's friend agreed.

“They usually just buy chips and stuff and they throw lunch in the garbage because lunch is really nasty,” he said.

Another student said she tries different dishes, but things usually don’t work out too well.

“It depends on what meal they have, like tacos - it looks like rat food,” she said. “You know, it tastes fake, it’s disgusting.”

Another student said she was happy to talk about the problems with eating.

“No one really eats the lunch that we get. Like today alone, I bought lunch and I threw it away because I took a bite and it was disgusting. No one eats the food,” she said. “No one likes it.”

One young woman said “today we had chicken tenders and like a hard piece got stuck in my tooth and I just think that’s not good.”

Another student said he didn’t think the food was that bad, but there’s another problem.

“I think they don’t feed us enough,” he said. “If they have chicken nuggets they give us four and we’re going through puberty and growing, so I think we should get more food.”