My all-time favorite school lunch was actually one that someone else would bring in. Uncooked Taylor Ham and tomato with mayonnaise on a kaiser roll. I loved it so much, I'd not only swap my sandwich but dessert and trip to the candy counter as well. Back before they canceled the candy counter. Of course, now things are different.

New Jersey is working to increase the free school lunch program with the Assembly endorsing 11 bills aimed at requiring every school to offer it as well as breakfast. But what good is it if most of the free food gets thrown away?

I have two boys in high school and unless it's pizza, neither are fans of the free lunch. That's not saying that the food is necessarily bad but that they, like many other kids, just don't like it and because of that a lot of it gets wasted or thrown away. I know this from the many calls from cafeteria workers when I talk about it on New Jersey 101.5.

Back in the "old school" the food may not have been as healthy, but it was eaten.

There is a solution that I think could help both the students get a better more enticing meal and help the community as well. Why not privatize the meals?

Instead of trying to do it themselves, why can't the schools take the money they would spend on the meals and make deals with either local restaurants or franchises in exchange for fitting their budget and promotion in the school?

The kids would get a more attractive meal that they would actually eat and the restaurants would make more money as well as get to hang their signage throughout the cafeteria. They could even give them take-out menus for their parents, who would gladly take their kids to places they already like.

Of course, not all local restaurants could afford to feed an entire school, but if you spread it out among several local places and mix in some franchises like McDonald's who could easily afford it, schools would have cafeterias that would hardly be wasting anything. A schedule could be worked out with the different places.

Also, if you're offering free lunch in schools, then it should be for everybody. Food costs are not only rising in New Jersey, but you're also getting less than you used to when you buy it. If you can save a few dollars on your kid's lunch, it could be more than could be spent in a local restaurant when you take them out to dinner.

Here are some of the old-school lunch favorite items from my social media. See if they bring back any memories or give you ideas for your kids.

Brett S. Harrison

My junior high cafeteria would serve leftover spaghetti doctored up with more pasta and sauce and call it Johnny Marzetti.

 

Paul Cigala

Shepherd’s Pie

Adobe Stock Photo By fkruger
Adobe Stock Photo By fkruger
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Peg Weber Bradford

NUDDY BUDDY out of ice cream machine! They were huge! Don’t make them like that anymore.

William Hogan

Jello

Adobe Spark Photo By HandmadePictures
Adobe Spark Photo By HandmadePictures
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Donna D'Antonio Hull

Hot cheese sandwich with a Tasty Klair pie for dessert and a Tab 😂

Joseph Calabro

Stromboli

Photo Adobe Spark By JJAVA
Photo Adobe Spark By JJAVA
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Arnold D De Marco

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Adobe Spark Photo By Brent Hofacker
Adobe Spark Photo By Brent Hofacker
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Carolanne Romeo Romeo

OMG, I loved the Macaroni dish at Holy Rosary! Haha, I don't know why I always remember that

 

Giulio Poli

Macaroni and meatballs on Wednesday

Adobe Stock Photo By Stanislav Ostranitsa
Adobe Stock Photo By Stanislav Ostranitsa
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Brian Brown

At our school, we had Pennsbury Pizza and it was awesome. Also liked the hoagies

Adobe Stock Photo by vasyl90
Adobe Stock Photo by vasyl90
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Jeffrey Rafter

Smoking out back

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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