New Nutritional Guidelines


photo by USDAgov

ryan liston, reporter

On Thursday August 16 a new policy will be enacted at Free State High School and other public schools around the United States. Lunches purchased from the school cafeteria must include food items from three of the five food groups. Portion sizes of foods such as pizza and deli sandwiches will be reduced, but so will the prices.

The United States Department of Agriculture has created this new policy in hopes that it will get students to eat healthier. According to published district guidelines, students must have at least one-half cup of fruit or vegetable. The other food groups are fluid milk, grains, and meat or meat alternative.

As with large pizza and giant sub sandwiches, self serve lunches are also getting cut from the school lunches. Cafeteria workers will be in charge of serving students their food choices and ensuring the student’s tray meets the new guidelines.

Assistant Principal Mike Hill raised concerns about the lunch line speed with these new requirements, “I’m guessing it’s going to create a little bit of backlog in the lunch lines.” Hill said.
He also stated that the cashiers will check to make sure the students’ lunch meets requirement.

If the student lacks a required food item, they will be sent back in to fulfill the nutritional goal.
Cafeteria Manager Kathy Hanna believes that this policy will help students eat healthier and that the USDA is looking out for the students. Even though the students are required to take a fruit or vegetable, they can’t be forced to eat it. This could potentially lead to more full trash cans, but Hanna said she feels that the new guidelines won’t cause students to waste anymore food than they already do.

Cafeteria workers are still learning about the policy too. “Be patient with us.” Hanna said of students annoyed with the new policy.

Hanna’s Assistant Manager, Lisa Baxter, thinks that it will be a positive change for students. The cafeteria staff has been cutting back on unhealthy food choices for several years, so she feels that this is another way to make the school food choices healthier.