Healthy Lunches: Helping or Hurting?

Everyone knows about the new health requirements in the cafeterias at OHS. Everything is whole grain and nothing is appetizing. But, are these new requirements actually helping or hurting OHS students’ health?

Michelle Obama’s plan to make the nation healthier came into effect this year in our very own cafeteria. Two pop-tarts were replaced with one, warm chocolate chip cookies were replaced with hard whole grain ones, and cheez-its were replaced with dried corn.

If eating these foods was required, then I believe it would be very effective. However, it’s not. Students have the option of bringing a lunch or not eating at all. Many students who have a habit of buying lunches no longer like the foods at lunch, but they forget to pack their own to bring. This ends up with them starving all day and either getting fast food after school or stuffing themselves later because of how hungry they are. Others, instead of buying, now bring a lunch that is a lot more unhealthy than it would have been had the school lunches not changed.

I understand taking white bread and even nacho cheese out of the lunches. I can understand making slight changes in the system to make it healthier. However, I do not think it was necessary to take away every appealing thing. Dried corn just makes the entire vending machine something every kid would like to avoid. Plus, half of the vending machine is covered in “Hot & Spicy Cheetos.” Oh wait, not even normal cheetos, cheeto-puffs. We need some variety!

I do think the school should make positive changes to reduce the risk of weight-gain in students. I do think the school should RECOMMEND healthier foods. However, if students are not willing to regulate their food choices and intake, they won’t. Replacing junk food with un-appetizing “health” foods will not make students change, but it does have the power to make people’s food choices even worse.