Page 1

Sell and Didier debate over healthy school lunches Chloe Sell

Jordyn Didier Smaller proportions, loss of butter, gravy and other condiments, and a new healthy eating system have taken over the cafeteria. Healthy eating became the focus of school lunches, but the new standards are not really meeting the goals set out by the school at the beginning of the year. While the idea of making lunches healthier seems like a good way to incorporate better eating habits, it also has its drawbacks, especially since eating the lunch provided by the school is not mandatory. Just changing lunches at schools cannot make students decide to change their eating habits. Overall, the lunch system is not causing a major decision to suddenly become healthier. Anyone can eat one healthy meal each day, but then he or she go home and eat all the salty and sugary junk food that he or she wants. According to Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score, a research organization that measures the amount of food advertisements that reach children, teenagers order the most fast food out of any age group during the times they are not in school. Add fast food to the junk food just lying around the house and teens are able to eat as much unhealthy food as they want whether lunch is healthy or not. After doing a poll on, 77 percent of 39 voters said that they do not like the new school lunches. This dislike is seen prominently since many students are now bringing their lunches instead of buying the school lunch. This not only saves people lunch money, but they can pack whatever food or drink they want and do not have to follow the healthy mandates. Only a few weeks into the year, the cafeteria started bringing back many of the condiments that they took away. If they have a plan, they need to stick to it. The school cannot expect students to eat healthier if they cannot even enforce their original plan. Healthy lunches are pointless if enforcing them is going to be ineffective. In general, the idea cannot be enforced well enough since the school cannot force anyone to eat the new lunches. The original plan may have been a solid, good idea, but due to the lack of student participation, it is ultimately not living up to the idea of trying to promote healthy eating.

Jordan Bickett In an effort to reduce childhood obesity, sugars, fats and several unhealthy choices were cut from the lunch program, spurring the creation of social media groups such as “Boycott School Lunches.” Understandably, students are disappointed; however, the mature response would be to accept defeat and eat the veggies. Some people say they should be able to eat what they want. But students are not sacrificing anything by choosing healthier options; on the contrary, they are gaining the energy and protein they need to make it through the day. People simply do not need nearly as much snack food as they consume. And it is this need that created the obesity epidemic, which has been linked to increased heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. This viewpoint may be harsh, but the facts are harsher— approximately 12.5 million children and teens are obese in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number will skyrocket to a whopping 37 percent for adults in the U.S. Indiana has an obesity rating of 30.8 percent, one of the highest in the country (CDC). And these numbers will only increase in the years to come if our nation does nothing to curb the American diet. If good dieting starts at home, the daunting national percentage could decline dramatically. Unfortunately, many families do not spend enough time on healthy choices, and some children spend more time at school than at home. Keeping this in mind, it is not unreasonable to restrict lunch options for students of any age. Anything should be an option if it alleviates the health crisis, and requiring fruits and vegetables in the Meal Deal is as good a plan as any. Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect kids to change their habits for the better. After all, students are stressed out enough. But changing habits can make a world of difference to those around you, especially loved ones. If my grandmother’s school had made more nutritious decisions, it might have given her more responsibility. Instead, she treated her body like a dumpsite, and she was not prepared to live with the consequences—diabetes and a massive heart attack—that took her life after 65 years. She did not die because of school lunches, but a program like this could have changed her diet. Believe it or not, most schools want the best for their students. Take this opportunity to change for the better.

“It makes the food not as good. We had all that to make the food better, but I would rather have everything brought back because the change is not a good thing,” freshman Chance Bennett.

Jordyn Didier

“The school lunches aren’t bad, but they could be improved. I feel that there should be salt with the mashed potatoes, something for different people with different likes and tastes, so that way their lunch can be better for them,” sophomore Ryan McConnell said.

Jordyn Didier

Jordyn Didier

Paws for thought “At the start of the year they were really bad. I almost started to bring my lunch, but then they started to get better. I’m not really happy about Fridays because I want the shrimp poppers back,” junior Evan Lawyer said.