I was responsible for operating a high school and elementary school food service program in the mid 70's. We fed 25,000 students daily. Atmosphere plays a big part in the unhappiness students have with their school food service program. Unfortunately, there is little money to brighten up and modernize a lot of these cafeterias. College feeding environments are so much more conducive to enjoying institutional food service feeding.
In a second career, later in life, I taught in high schools in Florida for 8 years. I never discussed my former vocation feeding students. But, what I found truly amazing was 25 years later, the students at my high school would eat pizza (Pappa John's) EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 180 DAYS! I never saw anything like that in New Jersey....Never.
In South Florida, the school cafeterias offer students a hot meal, cold sandwiches, etc. Much of those offerings are made with USDA donated foods such as American Cheese, cold cuts, ground beef, turkey, etc. But, the district (Miami Dade) also allows their cafeteria managers to purchase pizzas from local outside operators like Papa John's. That is literally all the kids want. They'd bring in boxes and boxes of pizzas every day. And in the morning, the sports teams raised money by selling Krispy Kream donuts and the kids brought them, too. So, for basically 180 days, most of the students had donuts for breakfast and pizza for lunch.
I'm nobody to judge anyone's diet, but it does make you wonder....