Local school here requires finger prints to use the lunch service (and they take both thumbs - just in case you lose one!).
Well, considering how "pizza" and "ketchup" are vegetables in some schools now, I have a hard time seeing any compelling reason to let your kids eat a school lunch. Brown bagging it gets around that problem, and is bound to be healthier for the kid.
Unless you had the infamous "Catholic School Brown Bag Lunch" I got almost every day when I went to school. The 'school nurse' sent out a letter before the start of each school year with a "nutritious" lunch recommendation on it - and my mother wasn't one to dispute what the school nurse suggested. She and most of the other mothers appreciated how it was the exact same letter that got sent every year. That made it one less thing to worry about or fuss over once school started as far as our moms were concerned.
The Catholic School Lunch consisted of a some sort of cold cut (protein!), served on insipid corporate white "bread" (a good starch!) with a dab of yellow mustard or mayo (to prevent choking!) and a leaf or two of lettuce (for vegetables!) - neatly sliced in half (not diagonally!) and wrapped in wax paper.
This "luscious" sandwich went into a #2 brown paper bag along with an apple. (Keeps the doctor away dontcha' know?) Your name and grade written on the front completed the package and facilitated identifying your
lunch later on in the day. (Lunches got put in the cubby above your coat. Food was never
to be placed inside a school desk at my school.)
Beverage was supplied by the school and consisted of a half pint wax carton of whole milk donated to the school by a parishioner who owned a local dairy. The only break in this weekday routine was on Friday when you'd get PB/PBJ or tuna/egg salad - because "good" Catholics didn't eat meat on Fridays back then. (Note: none of this food was ever
stored in a refrigerated place. My school wasn't air conditioned. Heck...we didn't even have fans in our classrooms. So...this is a healthy
Oh yes...you also had to actually eat
your lunch. All
of it. The Dominican nuns we had saw to that. They'd check what you were throwing out. You'd be punished for refusing to eat or not finishing everything your mom sent you in with. (Most of us got pretty adept at mashing half a sandwich into a small enough flattened ball that it could be wrapped in a piece of paper and jammed deeply in a uniform pants pocket without attracting too much notice from the desk in the front of the room. Worked fine until 7th grade when Sister Theresa Gerard (an uber-Penguin if there ever was one) started having us line up single file to throw our trash out - and made "the boys" turn our pockets inside out after we did.
I have not eaten a single mouthful of cold cuts since I graduated 8th grade. Nor am I overly fond of apples or most species of white bread. And I don't put anything in brown paper bags if I can possibly avoid it. For obvious reasons.
So from my perspective, almost any school lunch program looks pretty good to my eyes. But that's because I was so traumatized by brown bag lunches when I was but an innocent and helpless child!