Is There Enough Munch in Our School Lunch?

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Megan Burge, Staff Writer

School lunch is quite the controversial topic. Some students enjoy the food and the portion size while others don’t care for it and make comments on who to blame. While many like to put the blame on the lunch ladies, they don’t realize the regulations and qualifications that they have to abide by when making and serving the lunches.

Joyce Davis, a high school cafeteria worker that has been with the school for 10 years, said “We have to follow certain federal guidelines on what to serve and how much we can serve in each portion.”

The portion size is too small for the price we pay.”

— Andrew Ropac

Since the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, headed by Michelle Obama, the restrictions on the food the lunch ladies can serve has increased dramatically. They now are required to include a certain amount of grains, gluten, sodium, etc. each week.

Cindy Whitt, a cafeteria worker for 20 years, said, “I agree with the act but it is wasting food.”

One requirement is that all students must take a fruit or a vegetable when buying lunch. The lunch ladies can’t let anyone out of the line without a fruit because then they could be fined for $5,000. Although Michelle Obama’s intentions are good, are they really the best for the students and the schools?  Requiring a student to take a fruit or vegetable only for it to be thrown away because they don’t want it?

The regulations provided are also affecting the quality of the food, which is making the kids either skip lunch or bring their own lunch from home and the outcome isn’t helping the school or the students.

Andrew Ropac, a junior, said, “The portion size is too small for the price we pay,” and many others agreed with this statement.

Although Michelle Obama started this project, the school board also has a say in what the lunch ladies serve the students. The lunch ladies can only spend money the school gives them for each week. All schools are affected by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, but some schools in our area are given more of variety. We are left with a small, and unsatisfying variety that most students do not like.

A senior and our student president, Gabe Jarman, made the statement that from freshman year to his senior year the food has decreased in the quality of what is served. There isn’t a as much variety to choose from as there was in the past. Because of all the new regulations, many food items had to be removed. Soda, juices, regular chips, and fries are no longer available.

Taylor Ballis, a sophomore, believes we should get an equally balanced meal like other schools with the same regulations. The decision on this part is given to the school board. After the school board receives the state requirements, they decide on many of the factors. Is the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act worth all the frustration and arguments for the students and the school?