Monday, October 26, 2015

A Heaping Portion of Government

By Nathan Nowatney

September 21, 2015

Obesity has been a rather new addition to the towering pile of problems in the United States, and in recent years (pushed by even more recent first ladies), it’s been very near the top of our nation’s to-do list.

Recent laws have had school kitchens contort their menus and practices, sometimes drastically, to accommodate for these new bills.

Our school kitchen has not been exempt from these changes, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview our very own Ms. Eeten.

Students may have noticed changes in the school lunch calendar, some of these might even be as miniscule as the change between ‘corndog’, and ‘turkey corndog’.

“Just following the NSLP (National School Lunch Program) guidelines by using lower-fat foods,” says Eeten.  

Ms. Eeten’s been steadily getting used to rolling with the punches of new changes in the NSLP code, but is government control in our lunch a good thing?

“Yes, and no. Yes because kids get healthier choices, and no, because there can be a lot of waste,” Ms Eeten responds.

Waste food, it’s been another problem on the nation’s to-do list, but it’s always been downplayed until recently. Isn’t this contributing to the food waste problem? Is it really a good idea to force kids to take a portion of a fruit or vegetable, even if they don’t eat it, and it just goes to waste?

“I would have to side with yes because at least they’re being exposed to something they may not have at home,” says a tentative Ms. Eeten.

Possible waste is a sacrifice Ms. Eeten is willing to make for even having the possibility of making the students of Hartsburg-Emden more healthy. But it hasn’t all been sunshine and tulips for our cafeteria staff. Government mandates have made it harder for chefs to get out a wide variety of foods the kids will even touch, Eeten has this to say,

“It [fewer regulations] would make things easier because I could serve the kids what they liked.”

Our chefs are hard at work trying to make healthy and good-tasting food for the students to enjoy. They’re caring for students even if they go unrecognized. They truly are the unsung heroes of Hartsburg-Emden.