By Laura Cox
PUBLISHED:13:02 EST, 22 September 2012| UPDATED:13:02 EST, 22 September 2012
Few can say they had a good school lunch experience.
Stereotypically sloppy and greasy and served up with greying mashed potatoes, canteen dinners are a childhood memory best forgotten.
Even prisoners would turn their noses up at some of it, according to the LA-based community blog GOOD.is.
Do students eat like prisoners? Graphic shows the average contents of a jailhouse meal versus a school lunch
This infographic was posted on the site, comparing the average daily offerings of jailhouses and elementary schools.
Both meals contain roughly the same number of calories (around 1,400) but what’s shocking is that prisoners are allowed a greater serving of fruit and vegetables than growing children.
Students are missing out on essential vitamins and mineral, being served just half a cup of fruit or vegetables, compared with prisoners’ half cup plus one piece of fruit.
They are also given less meat – a maximum of two ounces – while inmates get three or four.
Money-saving prison chefs can feed an inmate on approximately $2.62-per-day, compared with $2.68 for just one school lunch.
And they have to be frugal – in 2009 the federal budget for prison food was $205 million, while school chiefs are allocated a significantly higher annual fund of around $11 billion for school food programmes.
But it seems the money could be more wisely spent. Less than one third of school food operations meet the recommended standard for saturated fat in their meals.
Equally alarming is the revelation that meat products go through fewer standard tests than the ground beef served at fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King.
Perhaps student ought to take inspiration from the residents of one Vermont prison who in 2008 filed a lawsuit over ‘nutraloaf’, which they argued was more punishment than nourishment.