One example of a school lunch posted on the Instagram account @bsgelunch

My oldest daughter turned 16 today (I’m still in denial), which means she’s got over a decade of school lunches under her belt. And I must say, either her taste buds have drastically changed, or the quality of school lunch has declined considerably over the years. While school lunch has never exactly been known to be gourmet food, in elementary school she’d give me a heads up on which days she preferred a packed lunch based on the menu options. By middle school there wasn’t a single lunch she’d touch. 

And it seems she isn’t the only one. An anonymous Instagram account run by Queens students documents the horrors of public school lunch at Baccalaureate School for Global Education.

The account features photos of plates that are both unappealing and mostly half empty. “I could recreate this same exact taste by spraying some easy cheese on some cardboard then stuffing it into a dirty sock and preheating that roll in 375 for 10 minutes,” one caption reads. 

School lunch became free for all students in 2017, as part of the initiative to end the stigma of subsidized meals and promote equity. In 2020, the Department of Education received a $1 million grant from Lifetime Foundation to accelerate healthier menus in New York City schools. And in 2022, Mayor Eric Adams introduced vegan Fridays. What do your children think of school lunch? Email us at

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