Food staff deals with shortage to provide for student desires

When it comes to schools and education we think about what we can do that will only benefit the students. We think about how our curriculum can improve, how we can take the standards that are required to teach and make it interesting in order for the students to learn. But one thing that we should also be considering is the lunches that are served to the students. In reality, students are not getting enough food and choices they like to fuel their bodies due to government regulations, supply shortage and COVID restrictions.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, school lunches are critical to student health and well-being, especially for low income students. Those students rely on school lunches to have the nutrition that they are needing for the brain to function correctly.
Warsaw High school received a grant to be able to distribute free meals to benefit the students no matter what income level.
“The way our economy is right now. It is very hard to get products which makes our menus look repetitive a lot. Food is a hot topic with everyone and all our schools needing about the same products is an issue. I can order 50 items, for example, for one school and get maybe 40 of them to come in,” food services director Ashley Haidusek said.
We see, first-hand, that just like restaurants and stores are struggling to get the normal shipment that they usually order, the schools are being affected as well. Warsaw High does their best to provide for the students everyday. A few years ago, a salad bar used to be provided for students in case they were not satisfied with what was being served for that day. It also provided a healthy option for students, but due to COVID it has not been available for students which may restrict them from having a meal at school.
“We have not been able to have the salad bar back since COVID. We are optimistic to have the salad bar back but, it may be limited to what we can have on it due to the products being harder to find and also with the portion control,” Haidusek said.
Following what Haidusek said, we have portion control with our school meals. Portion control is important to evaluate in order to make sure that not too much food is being wasted. But some students may not agree with the portions that have to be served. Some kids eat off other students’ plates or even get their friends to go get a plate just so they can feel full for the day.
Haidusek noted that she has guidelines to follow when making the menus. According to the NSLP and the USDA, no more than 30 percent of the meals calories may come from fat, less than 10 percent of the meal calories may come from saturated fat, and meals must provide one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Many experts feel that these guidelines are out of date and some say that it isn’t much healthier than some fast food.
With all these guidelines that the school is required to follow from the government and COVID restrictions, it can make it difficult for the lunch staff. The government needs to take into consideration other alternatives they can offer schools with low income to be able to accommodate the students so they are able to get the food they need.
It’s easy to just blame the cooks themselves but students need to look at the bigger picture and understand they have almost no control over the value of the meal.