What to eat for lunch: No longer a choice

COMMENTARY

By ALANA MARSH
STAFF COLUMNIST 

Many students at Perrysburg High School have come to notice changes in the school lunches over the years. It began gradually with a switch in the kinds of cookies and a reduction in the days french fries were served. Then, as the 2012-13 school year began students came to realize that perhaps lunches would never be the same again.

“There is a big push to make sure school meals across the country are offering healthier options due to the growing obesity rate” said Lila Szozda, Perrysburg Schools Child Nutrition Director.

This push for healthier option is a good idea on the surface but many students are not satisfied about the ways it is being put into action.

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Ms. Szozda also said that “many school districts are losing school meal participation due to the new guidelines.”

Instead of simply offering healthier options and allowing students to make choices, those who made these regulations have altogether removed any food that has a hint of “unhealthiness.”

Ms. Szozda shared with eSomethin.com the new guidelines for high school lunches. They include such things as offering a cup of fruits and veggies everyday. Personally, I see this as a great thing. Fruits and veggies are delicious and, of course, very important in a well maintained diet.

But when you dig a bit deeper you find that the new federal nutrition standards makes it mandatory for students to take at least one serving of fruits or vegetable with their lunch everyday. This is where the problem lies.

Offering and encouraging healthy eating is great but requiring students to take a fruit cup that they only throw away or a salad that just goes to waste, becomes simply that — wasteful.

High school students should know what it takes to be healthy and that having a healthy diet is one of the best choices to make. But the school should not have to assume the position of telling us what we have to eat.

Ultimately, the choice belongs to the student. Just because delicious cookies are no longer served at the bee hive, that doesn’t mean students will forever abstain from eating cookies, despite their fat content.

On the other hand, just because students chooses not to eat veggies with their lunch doesn’t mean they won’t eat some veggies at home that night.

What choices to make during meal times is first taught at home, and then becomes the students’ responsibility at school and out in the real world.

I commend the school for helping us students be healthier by giving us more options and recommendations at lunch, but I do not agree with the strict regulations that essentially take the freedom of that choice away.

Contact Alana Marsh at alana1713@gmail.com

 

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