The LT lunchroom needs to provide healthier options, as well as choices for those with special accommodations to their diet.
The typical school cafeteria in the U.S. is known for offering pizza, Sloppy Joes, and chicken tenders, making it challenging for students with special accommodations to their diet to find a healthy lunch. While the menu on the cafeteria at LT has just a bit more variety, with the addition of submarine sandwiches, and some pre-packaged entrees, it still lacks quality, nutritious foods, along with vegetarian and vegan choices.
Diets such as veganism and vegetarianism have been on the rise, and so has an overall consciousness of our environmental impact. Vegetarian and vegan food have become more readily available in many places where you can purchase food. The school cafeteria at LT has some of these, including black bean burgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and customizable submarine sandwiches, but even fewer to none for vegans. This makes it harder for LT students with dietary restrictions to find food in the cafeteria that will make for a filling and tasteful lunch. Moreover, this lack discourages students who do not have such restrictions on their diet from experimenting with more plant-based meals. To encourage inclusivity, the cafeteria can add tofu and legumes to their menu, so that those looking for a plant based option can find one that is satisfying and full of protein.
Promoting healthy eating and making it more accessible to people overall is extremely important, especially for the average high school student. There is value in demonstrating to high schoolers that healthy eating does not have to be expensive, boring, or unappetizing. The school cafeteria, however, does not do this. Their menu items that are marketed as healthy, such as the fried chicken salad you can grab from the cooler, or the smoothies, are not representative of what healthy eating can be. A salad with little toppings, or a low fat yogurt that is lacking in flavor, is not going to provide you with enough of the necessary nutrients and make you feel good after eating it.
Instead, the school should offer more colorful salads, nutrient dense options, such as whole grain bread, and a larger variety of snacks. In addition to the various chips they sell, they could also have vegetables and hummus, nut mix, and more fruits like bananas and berries in addition to the apples and oranges. This way, students will have examples of what a healthy diet can look like. They will be able to enjoy a lunch that leaves them feeling energized and able to sustain the rest of their school day.
This is not to say that the cafeteria should get rid of their original options. While there is so much importance in eating a well balanced diet, it is also necessary to validate eating—what is enjoyable and preferable to you. Nevertheless, if you are plant based, or are looking to add more nutritious food in your day to day diet, you are also just as deserving of having that option in the school cafeteria.
Staff Vote: 23-2