Rebuttal Argument – ShaquilleOatmeal

Homemade Lunches Aren’t So Convincing After All

An argument persuading people to think higher of school lunches and lower of homemade lunches sounds absurd. Surely, there are going to be reasons behind parents and students thinking that and they can also surely be refuted. Agreeing with these ideas can obviously be opinion based, but it’s here for a new possibility which is trusting that these school lunch programs can properly feed one or one’s kids in a nutritious way. Leaning students, teachers and parents off what they know can be impossible in some cases, but what’s being presented here is that one can trust that one or one’s son/daughter are in good hands eating school lunches. Also, don’t think the argument is stating that these school lunches are better than every homemade lunch because a healthier lunch can surely be made at home. The primary goal of the school lunches is to provide variety and nutritious food everyday and the programs do achieve that goal. 

Saying all homemade lunches are unhealthy is obnoxious since you don’t know what everyone is eating every single day. Some might get misdirected to where the idea is coming into play here. These school lunches provide the best overall opportunity for students’ health and education. It’s uncountable to how many varieties that can be made up for lunch from home and that’s known as well, but students today aren’t taking advantage of that variety given at home and bring in lunches like poptarts, cookies, chips, candy, etc. There’s no way to know exactly what every kid is eating and to say all kids are eating poorly, but there are studies showing that homemade lunches overall are relatively on the unhealthy side rather than the healthy side. In the article, on The Guardian, called “Kids’ School Packed Lunches Still Full of Junk Food, Research Finds,” it’s stated, “About half of all primary school pupils take a packed lunch to school. Researchers found that only 1 in 5 lunchboxes contained any vegetables or salad, while 52%-60% contained too many sweet and savoury snacks, or sugary drinks (42%), leading to high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt and not enough minerals and vitamins.” These stats can’t account for every kid and every family in the world, but they give visuals of inside actual student lunch boxes and the comparison to school lunches. Another article by Reuters called, “School lunches may be better than lunch packed at home,” says, “Of the 1,314 lunches they observed, the school provided 57 percent. Calories, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, sugar, vitamin C and iron were higher, on average, for packed lunches compared to school lunches.” Both researchers stated that about half were school lunches and the other half were homemade. Of those half being homemade, studies found that the homemade lunches were missing multiple key nutrients and were overpacked with lots of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. 

Another hard counter argument that could be made is that what if students and parents can’t afford these lunches at school. The solution is simple and it’s already provided to school families. They are given a paper in the beginning of each school year that will decide if they can pass for reduced school lunches or free school lunches. One may also think they can’t give out that many free lunches and reduced lunches because of money for schools, but surprisingly enough schools aren’t with these school lunch programs for the money per say, but rather to improve students in any way possible. Also from the article, “School lunches may be better than lunch packed at home,Reuters says, “About 60 percent of public elementary and secondary school students in the U.S. get their lunches free or at low cost from the National School Lunch Program, the authors write, and the NSLP is required to meet nutrition standards aligned with the 2010 Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act.” This shows a good percentage of students are receiving the aid needed for their living situation. The article, “The National School Lunch Program (NSLP),” by Feeding America says,”With over 1 in 5 children in the United States living in a food-insecure household,[i] NSLP plays a critical role in the healthy development and long-term health and educational outcomes for low-income children.” This provides the main goal the NSLP is attempting to achieve by giving free and reduced lunches. The NSLP wasn’t made for the money aspect, but for the students in these schools that are struggling with much more than just in school conflicts. 

Everyone is different in many ways and one big one is the difference of taste. So many factors play a role in a person’s taste buds like religion, where they’re from, their family, etc. and it might mean someone might not enjoy the food provided from the school. Someone may not like the meal on the menu for that day which is an opinion based argument, but that’s why there’s multiple choices provided everyday. There will always be the main course option which is switched up daily, but there are also the foods the programs provide daily like meat and cheese sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc. This is the variety aspect of school lunches as it defeats the argument that one might not enjoy the meal on the menu for the day. Another possible issue against school lunches would be allergies. Allergies are very serious for lots of kids and the NSLP takes that into consideration. It’s impossible to accommodate for each student’s allergies as there could be hundreds of students with different allergies, some being more serious than others. Yes, students with intense allergies may tend to bring food more than buying because they can find what fits them best, but that doesn’t defeat the refute that the NSLP, with it’s huge variety, gives additional options that avoid certain allergies. For example if a student is allergic to peanuts, which is one of the most common, they could buy a salad and still have the fruits and veggies. There will always be accommodation options for these students. Students usually understand their allergies and will just need to avoid the options they are vulnerable to and they can still acquire the nutritious balance of food from the school lunches.

Overall, the idea of persuading more to choose school lunches over homemade is vulnerable to many arguments, but those have been given alternatives or solutions to the above. If one wants to make their own meals that’s completely their choice, but the reliable and consistent school lunches are always there for consideration. Also, now that the issue of money is mainly out of the equation given the opportunity for free/reduced lunch and the possibilities of allergies have been addressed, the last refute was mainly opinion based. One might not enjoy what’s on the menu one day, but that’s completely based on opinion of taste and that is refuted with the variety given at lunch daily. School lunches are great for future success of students and it’s highly suggested to all students and staff.


McVeigh, K. (2016, September 5). Kids’ school packed lunches still full of junk food, research finds. Retrieved from

Doyle, K. (2014, November 13). School lunches may be better than lunch packed at home. Retrieved from

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP). (n.d.). Retrieved from

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3 Responses to Rebuttal Argument – ShaquilleOatmeal

  1. davidbdale says:

    Shaq, I’m pretty sure I made this recommendation to you once before, but if not, then this will be the first time I’m urging you strenuously to follow your popular newspaper and magazine sources back to the original studies on which they are based.

    You may find nothing more substantial than what the papers report, but you owe it to yourself to find out, and you owe it to your readers NOT to hand them the already digested opinions of a secondary source.

    Your first source, the Guardian article, says this about where it got its material:

    The Leeds University study published on Tuesday found just 1.6% of packed lunches for primary school children met tough nutritional standards set for their classmates eating in the school canteen.

    I used that data to find the original study in less than two minutes by searching the Campbell Library Database:
    A comparison of British school meals and packed lunches from 1990 to 2007: meta-analysis by lunch type

  2. davidbdale says:

    For your second source, which you attribute to K. Doyle, the work was actually done by Alisha Farris at Virginia Tech. The article does you the big favor of supplying the source to you in a footnote.

    SOURCE: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, online November 7, 2014.

    THIS should be your source, Shaq. Don’t quote a Reuters journalist who has already interpreted the source material. Make your own study of the source material and quote the science and the scientists who make the case by doing the work.

    You may find Reuters got it all wrong.

  3. davidbdale says:

    Feeding America is not a scientific or research source either. It’s an advocacy group that chooses data to support its position. In other words, it has a slant. You either pass that slant along to your readers as if it were your own position, or you follow the data back to the source and draw conclusions you then use to shape your own correct opinion.

    Feeding America provides you those sources:

    Additional Resources
    Child Food Insecurity Rates by State and County: Feeding America Map the Meal Gap Report
    NSLP Website:
    [i] Coleman-Jensen, A., M. Nord, M. Andrews, and S. Carlson. Household Food Security in the United States in 2010. Table 2. ERR-125, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. September 2011.

    [ii] U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet, page 1.

    [iii] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Nutrient and MyPyramid Analysis of USDA Foods in Five of Its Food and Nutrition Programs, Table 3-39. January 2012.

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