Thursday, November 3, 2016

School Lunch Guidelines

by Maddie Shawgo
Nov. 2, 2016

Over the past couple of years, school systems have really cracked down on school lunches. Not only have things been reduced, but some things have been cut out completely. Some schools have even gone as far as not allowing students to bring their own lunch to ensure that they are getting a healthy, well-balanced meal. The reason for doing this is to stop childhood obesity and promote being healthy.
     The final rule requires most schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains  and fat-free and low-fat milks.  It also requires that schools reduce the levels of sodium and saturated and trans fats. Here at Hartem we are subject to these rules, even going as far as not being allowed salt at the lunch table. But what’s really interesting is that in the official government document it states that MOST schools are subject to these rules. So why isn't everyone?
     For example, Lincoln Community High School, which is only 10 miles away from us, doesn't seem to be subjected to these school lunch rules at all. At Hartem we are offered one main dish or a salad, fruits and vegetables for sides and only milk to drink. At Lincoln they are offered multiple main dishes, sides that include fries, chips and desserts, and they have multiple drinks to choose from such as Gatorade, juices, soda and sometimes even milkshakes.
     From research it seems as though Lincoln Community High School may not be following all the rules; they could and may even be finding ways around them. It seems that larger schools including Springfield, Bloomington and Peoria have more leeway with their lunch options. Is it because they’re such a large schools and aren’t as closely looked at as small schools? Hartem offers the lunches we do to promote healthy eating. We follow the guidelines to have a successful school and a successful lunch program.