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Students want healthy options for school lunch

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Students want healthy options for school lunch

The school cafeteria is offering healthier options such as Tex-Mex pizza this year.

The school cafeteria is offering healthier options such as Tex-Mex pizza this year.

Maia D'Amato

The school cafeteria is offering healthier options such as Tex-Mex pizza this year.

Maia D'Amato

Maia D'Amato

The school cafeteria is offering healthier options such as Tex-Mex pizza this year.

Kayla Marutani and Maia D'Amato

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Students eating lunch at the school cafeteria this school year might notice dishes such as garbanzo beans next to the usual burgers and fries.

Cafeteria managers implemented “Mindful Thursdays” this year at Scudder, but one student, Nathalie Tamman, has started a petition to advocate for even more healthy options at the cafeteria.

Tamman’s proposal aims to develop healthier diets for the student body and encourages students to consider their personal health, she said.

“Most people signed [the petition], but some people didn’t because they don’t want healthier lunch options to be more expensive,” said Tamman.

School lunch prices have also increased this year. Plate lunch rose to $7.00, a 4 percent increase over last year’s price of $6.75. Regular lunches rose to $5.75, up 11 percent from last year’s $5.25.

With the school lunch and plate prices already increasing, many students are unwilling to pay the price for healthier lunch options, said Tamman.

Junior Mia Lau said healthier foods are more expensive at the cafeteria than junk food.

It makes you want to get the junk food more than you want to get the healthier food.”

— Mia Lau

Prices have gone up due to minimum wage increase requiring staff to be paid more, said Regina Toguchi, a temporary interim general manager for the cafeteria. Moreover, a lot of production goes into making every meal, she said.

“Mindful Thursday” recipes include foods with no trans-fat, low sodium, low fat and fewer than 600 calories, said Toguchi. In all cafeteria meals, Toguchi and her staff switched many pastas and breads to whole grains as well as using local products and leaner meats when possible, she said.

Toguchi said healthier snack bar items are for sale, such as whole grain rice krispie treats and whole grain pop tarts. Pomegranate bars and veggie bean crackers have also made an appearance, said Toguchi. Toguchi said the whole grain and healthier options are usually more expensive.

Toguchi said she sees a lot of opportunity in incorporating Mindful Thursdays into the lunch schedule because “there are a lot of students who want healthier options.”

Students said they support of the addition of healthier/vegetarian and vegan foods in the lunch menu.

“I can’t eat pork because of my religion, so vegetarian options would be a really good idea to incorporate into the lunches,” said sophomore Sabrine Smahi.

“There’s a lot of people who have dietary restrictions, so having more options for them, and people who are looking to eat healthier [would be a good idea],” said Leau.

Many students said they support the addition of healthier/vegan options to the lunch menu. However, lunch money limitations raise issues for students who are on a budget.

“I have an $8 limit on my card, and I don’t bring cash, so usually I can’t get [the more expensive foods] because i have to get breakfast as well,” said Smahi.

Toguchi said lunch prices may be increasing, but she hopes “students [will] find that there’s value in what they’re getting.”

However, Toguchi said she is challenged with the idea that students might not know there are healthier food options being offered, or they think they’re not going to like it. She said she doesn’t know if it’s a marketing problem or if it’s a price issue, but by increasing communication between her and the students, she hopes this can help her incorporate foods the students would want to see.

“We need to understand better what students are interested in eating. Until now, I don’t know if there was that kind of communication for getting that kind of feedback,” said Toguchi.

About the Contributors
Kayla Marutani, Staff Writer

Kayla Marutani is a junior and a first-year journalism writer. To her, the role of a journalist includes: effectively and clearly communicating news to...

Maia D'Amato, Staff Writer

Maia D’Amato is a junior and a second-year journalist. In her free time, she enjoys her alone time as well as hanging out with her parents and friends....

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Students want healthy options for school lunch