Served up: The truth about State High lunches

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The North Lunch Ladies pause from a moment after the after lunch clean-up and gather to take a group photo. Front Row Left to Right: Anna Ireland, Theresa Ganow, Nina Troyan, and Chrissie Weaver. Back Row Left to Right: Linda Rinehart, Nancy West, Sierra Ghaner, Jen Barger, Connie Zellers, and Karen Albert

Caycee Ohl, Staff Writer

 

Today as I awaited in the long line in the SCASD North building cafeteria, my options were between the entree of the day, macaroni and cheese, or my most common choice, a chicken sandwich. I turned to my friend and asked if I should give the macaroni and cheese a try but the sketched-out look on her face told me otherwise. I decided to go for it and try something new. Not to my surprise, the macaroni didn’t taste like the Velveeta macaroni and cheese that I typically eat. This macaroni and cheese did however, make me wonder why school lunches are so much different than the “normal” food we consume outside of school, and I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Sharing his thoughts about the change in the school food, senior Felix Sanchez said, “I feel like there has been a change in school lunches and their requirements since I was in the 3rd grade.” I too, also remember a time when school lunch requirements seemed a lot less strict. It seems like this change in school lunches directly correlates with Barack Obama’s presidency starting in 2008. After Michelle Obama first launched her platform for healthy eating called “Let’s Move,” a way to promote the fight against childhood obesity, school lunch requirements have changed dramatically as far as health requirements. The supervisor of the North kitchen, Teresa Ganow, confirmed the stipulations behind the strict requirements of our school’s lunches, “We have to go by guidelines and meet the calorie, salt, fat, requirements. We have a special calculator that makes sure the meals are calculated perfectly by what the USDA requires us to do.” She also mentioned that recently, State High received a perfect audit, meaning our food is the healthiest it can be.

However, despite the quality of our food, it seems like State High students always talk down our school lunch food despite their lack of knowledge of what’s going on in the kitchen. Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, Zane Sommesse, senior, tweeted, “Funny how scasd thinks changing their bread to whole grain helps kids stay healthy even though they feed students GMO, Preservative, and Pesticide ridden food every day that will probably end up resulting in cancer and other diseases later in students lives.” I think what Sommesse said clearly illustrates the amount of ignorance behind what the lunch ladies and school food services try to do to provide, tasty, yet healthy meals. “We provide students with fresh honeydew, pineapples, blueberries and an assortment of fresh fruits daily, but I think it’s a waste because most of the time students just throw the food away,” said Ganow. The issue with school lunches isn’t that the staff isn’t providing good meals, but rather we, as a student body, are under appreciating the things they do for us. I decided to go around the school and talk to students about school lunches and those who had negative comments about the food also admitted that they still buy school lunches everyday. It is almost as if the popular opinion is to talk down on the school lunches, but students actually don’t mind them. Felix Sanchez, senior, commented on the work ethic the lunch ladies put into our food by stating, “The lunch ladies do what they can, the stipulations put on by Michelle Obama have not made it easy to provide a tasty and nutritionally valuable lunch, it’s a shame that people don’t appreciate what the lunch ladies have done.” I too, realize now that sometimes making macaroni and cheese healthy isn’t the easiest of jobs, yet the results are amazing. So the next time you’re getting your tray, remember to say thank you, and most importantly, don’t waste your fruit.

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