As students, schools are our space to learn and expand as a person. To achieve this, we must meet the needs of our bodies and get/stay healthy and have substantial nutrition. At Sweet Home, we are served breakfast, lunch, and even have vending machines for snacks. Which sounds pretty good, right?
Well, some students and maybe even yourself, have complaints and concerns about the school’s nutrition. You may have also noticed that some of the current student government officials brought up the topic of school lunch and nutrition in their campaign speeches. So to say this isn’t a big issue would be an understatement.
Now you may wonder, what is our student government planning to do? To begin with we must consider the selection of foods that we’re currently provided by Sweet Home to evaluate the school’s nutritional value currently.
|Offers||Bagels, Poptarts, Doughnuts, and Etc.||Main course, Optional sides, Fruit/vegetable, Milk, and Condiments|
Next we must answer the question, what is considered a healthy and balanced meal? To do this we need to break our food down into a few different food groups. There are many different sources, who mention different food groups but here are the most common and essential types: carbohydrates, protein, starch, grains, vegetables/fruit, and dairy.
Looking at what the school lunch and breakfast serve we can section some of these items into these key food groups.
- Dairy: Milk and cream cheese
- Vegetables and Fruit: Applesauce, fruit cups, salads, corn and broccoli
- Carbohydrates: Corn and peas
- Protein: Milk and chicken
- Grains: Bread and pasta
- Starch: Bread, rolls, bagels, buns, bananas and carrots
To help us determine if our future foods will reach these standards, I was able to get in touch and interview Matthew Spence, an elected Freshman Senator in the Student Government. Here’s what he said:
*Disclaimer, Matthew has made it clear that the changes and ideas mentioned from the Food and Nutrition Committee, are still in their planning stage and are not necessarily guaranteed to go into effect.
Q: Can you tell me about the source of the school’s food products?
A: Much of the food gets determined by New York State. They are the ones who set regulations on how much of an item is needed per week and per student.
Q: What are your goals, food wise, that you hope to achieve as a senator?
A: As I stated before, New York sets regulations on the food we can serve, but we want to get a grant from the state for a school garden. That way we have fresh and home grown foods in the lunchroom. We’re also hoping for the possibility of adding foods to the school menu that kids from different cultures can eat and enjoy at lunch. Keep in mind that none of this is guaranteed to happen, though.
Q: What alternatives do you have in mind?
A: The kitchen staff is planning to add more international cuisine to the menu. Again, our goal is to bring a more inclusive variety of foods that everyone can enjoy at lunch. With the garden we are hoping to put a good taste in everyone’s mouth with new fresh garden foods on the menu.
To recap, we have sorted school foods into seven types of nutrition: dairy, carbohydrates, starch, protein, vegetables & fruit, and grains. Some of the sections are pretty much covered by the school’s nutrition (take starch for example) and some other sections could use a bit of work. In the end, each area is covered well enough in nutritional value. Another big thing to recap is what Matthew said, even if nothing is guaranteed.
According to Matthew, the food the school receives is determined by New York State but they are hoping to get a grant to start a school garden. This change will bring fresh and home made foods to Sweet Home and can help by adding more to the different food groups. Lastly they are hoping to acquire more exclusive foods for people of different cultures. Even if nothing is guaranteed to happen, these changes will surely benefit the nutritional and diets of many students that attend Sweet Home.