What do Kalani Students think of School Lunch?

Eleni Cheng, Feature

What do students think of Kalani High School’s school lunch, given that the Hawai’i Department of Education (HIDOE) has provided students with free school meals for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year?

Katie Lee, a freshman at Kalani, is a student who does eat the free school-provided lunches. 

“I don’t like it, but I have nothing else to eat, so I’m pretty much forced to eat it,” Lee explains. 

Lee later explains that the school lunches taste “very plain” and doesn’t like the taste. 

She thinks that the presentation of the school lunches is unappetizing. 

“For breakfast, I usually see it in plastic packaging,” Lee says. 

Lee says that her favorite school lunch is the cheese bites because she likes the tomato sauce that comes with them, and she also likes the nachos and the pizza. 

One of the more popular school lunches is the burger and fries. This meal comes with an apple, pineapple, and milk as well. Photo by Eleni Cheng.

She says she finishes the lunches because they “taste good.”

Her least favorite lunch is the vegan patty. 

“The one where they put corn and beans in a patty, the vegan meat,” she explains.

Lee also thinks that the proportions of the lunches should be bigger. 

“It still makes me hungry because I don’t eat for a long time, and it gives a little portion,” she explains.

Sienna Kekauoha (9) says she doesn’t eat school lunches. 

“Because it’s cold, and sometimes the food can get very mushy,” Kekauoha says. “I honestly just don’t like the menu that they have.”

She says that she prefers home-prepared lunches because her mom makes them.

“And it just tastes so much better when your own parents make them,” Kekauoha explains.

She recommends that school lunches be served warm and says that they are often cold when the student eats.    

Marissa Lum is a Kalani High School 2020 Alumni who used to eat the school lunches when she was a student.  

She believes that school lunches could be better but says her favorite was the popcorn chicken because of the barbecue sauce. Her least favorite lunch was the sloppy joe.

“The meat tastes not real, and the bread is always hard,” she adds.

Lum says the one thing that she would change about the school lunches is the type of rice used.

 “I would put white rice instead of brown rice, cause the brown rice kinda has hard shells, so it’s hard to eat,” she explains. 

She also thinks that the lunches look very unappetizing and that they aren’t filling enough. However, she admits that portions sizes are suitable, but students are picky eaters.