Most students who buy school lunches know about the new national nutrition rules that went into effect this school year. First lady Michelle Obama was instrumental in creating guidelines for what students can purchase in their school cafeterias.
Students must be served at least one serving of fruit along with the main entree, which is now made up of healthier options. More meats and whole grains are used in creating the main dishes. This does not seem like a big change, but a lot of students have had something to say about it. The amount of food that the students are getting has increased, but the calorie counts have decreased. This is leaving some students hungry by the end of the day.
What do the students think of the changes?
“I think it’s a waste because most of the kids just throw all the food out,” said Paige Nowak, a seventh-grader at Sweet Home Middle School. “I think that if the school gives the students more options, then people are more likely to choose things that they like and eat it.”
Devin Litten, a freshman at Niagara Wheatfield High School, agrees with Paige.
“I don’t think that they should add it [the price of the extra fruit] to your lunch unless you are going to eat it,” he said.
On the other hand, some students like the new guidelines.
Makayla Roma, a freshman at Niagara Wheatfield High School, said, “I like fruit so I don’t really mind that they are making you buy it now. But I do think that since they are making students buy it, then [the students] should actually eat it and stop wasting food.”
Parents of students also have chimed in on the new school lunches.
“It’s good that the schools are selling healthier lunches, but if the kids are just going to throw it out then it seems like a waste,” said Neil Durfey of Wheatfield, a father of three children, ages 14, 12 and 10. “Maybe if the kids have more options, they will be more likely to find something they like, but I don’t think that a low-calorie main dish would be appealing to kids either.”
Domenic Barile, the school lunch director at Niagara Wheatfield High School, says it isn’t that big of a change from the lunches that were served in previous years.
“The kids have a mindset that it is not enough food,” Barile said. “I always try to explain to them that it really has not changed. We must offer all five offerings of food [grain, protein, fruit, vegetable and dairy], but the students only need to take three of those, one of which needs to be a fruit or vegetable. The only other thing we have done is switched from white bread to wheat. I think in the long run, once everyone is educated, the new guidelines are better.”
So, whether the new guidelines have you missing the old school lunches or have you craving more fruits and vegetables, just remember you can always bring your lunch.
Olivia Tober is a freshman at Niagara Wheatfield High School.
“... I do think that since they are making students buy it, then [the students] should actually eat it and stop wasting food.”
– Makayla Roma, freshman, Niagara Wheatfield High School