School Food vs Prison Food [infographic]

June 8, 2011 |  by  |  Lifestyle

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a big hit in my family. I can usually count on at least one episode waiting on the DVR when I go home for a weekend. The latest episode features Jamie challenging a fast food purveyor, fighting for nutrition in a public school cafeteria, and teaching kids to think about what they eat. He also cried a little, but I can overlook that. Judging by today’s infographic, there is something legitimate to cry about.

This infographic compares an unappetizing prison lunch to an equally unappetizing elementary school lunch. The prison lunch is created “to maintain a moderate amount of nutrition,” while the school lunch is created to be nutritiously balanced; yet, the two look strikingly similar and cost roughly the same to create on an individual level. If that is the case, what accounts for the vastly different budgets? With all the campaigns for health, addressing childhood obesity, and tweaks to school programs, it is strange that this is the best they could come up with for growing kids. [Via]

Infographic comparing school food to prison food

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  • Robert

    Well I think it’s obvious that the vastly different budgets are due to there being way more children in school than people in prison.  School lunches have always been horrible, you can always pack a lunch for your kid.

    • mawmaw313

      For the most part I would agree with your statement “you can always pack a lunch for your kid” however, I live in the deep South and there isn’t any way to keep the food from spoiling or taking up too much room in the backpack (if I use insulation).  There aren’t any lockers.  There aren’t any microwaves.  Temperatures stay well in the 90′s and the humidity is high.  I count on school lunches because I feel like my hands are tied for other reasons.


        How old are you?  If you are over 40 then I am sure you took a packed lunch to school, I certainly did.  We didnt have any lockers and microwaves didnt exist.  What would you need a microwave for anyway in 90 degree weather?  Your lunch isnt going to spoil in the space of 3 hours and a packed lunch is so much healthier and cheaper anyway.  Sorry, dont see a problem her.  Fresh veg to munch on, a banana, apple or orange and a nice PB& J or Egg Salad or Tuna sandwich on nice bread…no problem!

        • Kelly Cook

          I’m over 40 and taking lunch to school was a treat.  We ate the hot lunch served in the cafeteria.

          Egg or tuna salad in 90° weather is a recipe for food poisoning.

        • Emma

          eating peanut butter every day can cause you to develop an allergy. I personally developed an allergy to red food dyes and cherry flavourings. also, some schools don’t even allow students to bring peanut products to school with them.

  • Ricardo Carvalho

    A very cool infographic :

  • Thubten Comerford

    According to Wikipedia, in 2007 there were 81.5 million school children in the US. In 2010 there were 211,108 prisoners in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I think the fact that there are 386 times as many children as prisoners explains the significant difference in the overall budget numbers.

  • Anonymous

    “the two look strikingly similar”

    Really? The prison diet looks much better to me.

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  • Finedinin2002

    No image..ugh

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  • Thumper

    Maybe the US could use some of the 7 Billion they use on military spending to use on feeding their own future some healthy damn food

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  • Algernon Ex

    there is little problem with saturated fat. The problem is with carbohydrates.

  • Jessica

    With my high school lunch today, I was served “Galaxy Pizza” which is this circle pizza, mostly crust, probably about a 4 inch diameter. It doesn’t taste that great. Along with that, I had about 1/3 cup of applesauce, and an 8 ounce carton of milk. That’s all. You have the option to have a very small salad with a little bit of ranch, but I’d rather not eat it. Then I finally came home at 3:30 in the afternoon, an hour after school gets out, my stomach growling, and I ate a delicious chocolate cupcake, a bunch of those popcorn chips, and these amazing Special K Pastry Crisps. I am well into the healthy weight range, closer to being underweight than overweight. Prison inmates probably eat more food than we’re served in my high school.