Federal school-lunch rules are hard for some to swallow
By JOSHUA M. VALERA
Students in Perrysburg High School are not happy to see that their most prized time of the day – lunch – has been changed, and not for the better, they say.
They have noticed this school year that many items they loved in the lunch line have vanished. Missing from the cafeteria are the cookies and ice cream, and the pizza/Bosco Sticks are now whole wheat, but what students are griping the most about are the missing soups.
◊ Students speak out about lunch menu
◊ Commentary: What to eat for lunch is no longer a choice
“The biggest changes or challenges with this year’s lunches [is] making sure our meals [are] following the new school meals guidelines and are still appealing to our students,” said Lila Szozda, Child Nutrition Director for Perrysburg Schools. “I hear many school districts are losing school meal participation due to new guidelines.”
The new federal guidelines for 9-12th grade are that meat is limited to 10-12 servings per week, must offer one cup of fruits and one cup of vegetables per day. However, the most popular item sold at the high school is the chicken nugget meal; the least favorite sweet potatoes.
Barb Pelc, kitchen manager at the high school, said soups like chicken noodle were taken away because of high sodium content.
Ms. Pelc said she has a personal soup recipe for chili and she is in the process of getting it approved and added to the high school lunch menu.
“All the students like the soup, and we want it to work out to get some [of the soups] back,” Ms. Pelc told eSomethin.com.
Ms. Szozda said the soup issue will hopefully be resolved by November with the reunion of students and their soups in the cafeteria.
The high school makes a 75-cent profit off of every lunch sold, but that is offset by the 13 percent of students who receive free or reduced-priced lunches.
Yes, not everyone likes the new changes to the school lunches at Perrysburg High School, but pointing fingers at the school isn’t where the blame should be placed. The federal guidelines the school has to abide by are to blame, and the school cooks are left to figure out what to serve on their own.
November can’t come soon enough for the return of the soups.