A Healthy Alternative


Vaishali Shah

Freshman, Anna Chen buys her lunch in the cafeteria everyday.

Stepping into the cafeteria, you look down at your lunch tray. Instead of large portions, you have a grain, meat, veggie and a carton of juice. From reducing portion sizes, to “healthifying” the food used, the lunch menu has been changed and students and administration are expressing their views on the new restrictions.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the meal reimbursement that schools receive per meal has increased six cents, making schools across the country change their menu to align with new restrictions. This is the first increase in 15 years.

This shift in the menu and the increase in reimbursement rates was prompted by First Lady Michelle Obama’s new health initiative.

“We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. Fast food has become the everyday meal,” Obama said in a speech to the National Restaurant Association Meeting. 

The new changes include a requirement of three healthy parts for each meal. There must be grain, meat and fruit/veggie for each meal.

“We bake our fries now – no more frying. There are big changes at the snack wagon. Smaller portion sizes, baked chips, baked goods are now at least 51% whole grain, calorie, fat and sugar limits on items,” Cafeteria Supervisor Barb Kohring said.

Yet Kohring believes these restrictions are too harsh for high schoolers due to their busy lifestyles.

“At the high school level, I think the restrictions should be eased as we have many athletes who require more calories than what they are getting with the meal plans. But we are limited with new guidelines,” Kohring said.

Freshmen and cross country runner Anna Chen explained her typical cafeteria lunch.

“It’s really small, and we are getting less for more. I don’t think the price has changed, so you’re getting smaller portions for the same price. This makes kids go to the snack bar or get seconds which is even more unhealthy. I do cross country, so I find myself eating a lot, but the lunch is just not filling enough,” Chen said.

On the quality of food, Chen said, “Some of the salad looks old, like its been sitting there for awhile.”

However Kohring believes that quality of the food offered is sufficient.

“Our salad bar is wonderful. I eat a spinach salad everyday along with some of the entree’ items we serve,” Kohring said.

Other students also contributed their opinion over the new food.

“I think it would be really great if they gave you healthy options, but that’s all it should be: an option. They shouldn’t ram it down your throat, ” senior Alex Galvin said.

To combat these restrictions, a student who wishes to remain anonymous, has made a business.

“We, my business partner and I, sell everything from the tos family. Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, etc.” This student said about their new business. I’m trying to monopolize the black market of snacks. Im trying to be the next Rockefeller and get in on it before it’s gone.”