Looking back at the school lunches I ate as a kid, I remember lots of pizza, chicken nuggets and quesadillas. During my first year of college, I decided to educate myself on nutrition and started living a more healthy lifestyle. I realized how important it is to eat wholesome meals, especially for kids.

Recently, there has been a push towards healthier school lunches, but the kitchen equipment used to make it is just as important. Obama has proposed giving 35 million dollars to schools in need of a kitchen makeover, and we think it should happen.

Healthier school lunches (finally)

First Lady Michelle Obama is known for her work towards improving the health quality of school lunches. According to the USDA, she brought the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to life, making the first major changes to school lunches in fifteen years.

This has been a huge step towards healthier school lunches. However, these healthy meals can’t be made without the right equipment.

According to the PEW Charitable Trusts, Obama’s budget proposal for 2017 allocates $35 million in grants towards updating school kitchens. If Congress approves this amount, it would allow many schools around the country to get the new and updated kitchen equipment they need.

What this money would go to

Preparation Equipment

coffee, cheese
Erin Powell

This includes appliances from ovens to toasters to cooking utensils, which allow schools to serve meals made from scratch instead of just frozen meals and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. 

Service Equipment

Erin Powell

This is all about how the food is displayed and served to students (serving lines, carts, etc.). Service equipment makes it easy for students to move through the line quickly, giving them more time to eat. It also encourages students to make healthier choices with items like fruits and vegetables easily accessible. 

Refrigeration and Food Storage

vegetable, meat, barbecue
Erin Powell

You can’t keep a kitchen full of fruits and vegetables without enough refrigeration. That means walk-in refrigerators, freezers and chillers. These are essential in keeping healthy ingredients on hand for students every day. 

Should Congress approve this amount?

So, Obama has proposed giving $35 million to schools in need of updated kitchen equipment. However, schools will only get the money if Congress approves it. According to the USDA, a 2014 survey found that 88% of schools lacked at least one piece of equipment needed to serve healthier lunches.

But there are nearly 100,000 public schools in the US. 35 million won't be enough to upgrade all of the kitchens that need it, but it would be a great start. Congress should approve this money so more students will have access to healthy meals during school.

Proper kitchen equipment in schools is an issue that is often overlooked. Parents want to make sure that their kids are eating healthy school lunches, but many forget to think about everything that goes into making those lunches and focus only on the food itself.