Can You Buy School Lunch Chicken Patties As An Adult?

Everyone had a favorite hot lunch option in school. It may have been the slice of pepperoni pizza that was nowhere as good as pizza from a restaurant but still felt like a real treat during a school day. Or it may have been many kids' lunchtime favorite –- a hot dog (ketchup optional). As children, we loved these lunchroom options not because they were gourmet, but because they provided a level of comfort (and because we knew they weren't the healthiest).

School lunches weren't always an option for American kids. According to PBS, President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act in 1946 and throughout the next decade, school districts began to contract with private companies to make food to be served to students. The federal government also remains involved in making sure American children have good to eat. Operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides food to many students across the country. In 2020, 3.2 billion meals were given to students via the NSLP program, per the USDA. Of those who received a school meal, 76.9% got the food at a free or reduced price. All must meet the federal nutrition guidelines but still include favorites such as cheeseburgers, corn dogs, and chicken patty sandwiches.

Processed and delicious

Even as adults, we still love to eat our childhood favorites. Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy a chicken patty sandwich like the one you ate in school. Unfortunately, you are unable to buy the exact same kind for home that the friendly cafeteria workers would place on your plastic tray.

The first piece of advice that The Takeout gives for recreating the school lunch chicken patty sandwich is to not get too creative with it nor try elevating it with fancy ingredients or buns. After sampling different frozen chicken patties, The Takeout opted for Tyson's frozen Fully Cooked & Breaded Chicken for their replica cafeteria sandwich. Then the outlet topped the patty with mayonnaise and shredded iceberg lettuce for the classic lunchroom staple. One pregnant mom went to Reddit to ask for advice on what kind of chicken patty she could purchase to recreate her school's patty sandwich to satisfy her craving. People responded with ideas that ranged from MorningStar Farms veggie chicken patties to ready-to-eat sandwiches from gas stations. The overarching theme of the advice was to buy a frozen, breaded, and processed chicken patty to recreate the childhood favorite.