The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Change in Cafeteria Policy is a Misunderstood Benefit

Over the summer, the Mountain View-Los Altos school district implemented a new cafeteria policy which states that only full meals can be bought in the cafeteria. The focus of the plan is on shortening the extensive lines that have plagued the small cafeteria. Additionally, new and healthy food options are offered, and foods deemed unhealthy were taken out. This new policy has proven to be helpful and mostly effective, but a student misunderstanding has caused unnecessary waste.

So far, the district’s attempt to shorten the lines has proved to be beneficial.

“The inside of the cafeteria they’ve made to be more meal-oriented; you used to be able to go inside and buy different things, and they’ve now moved that out to the snack lines and the pizza cart,” principal Wynne Satterwhite said.

This has improved long lines immensely because it cuts down the traffic in the cafeteria caused by people only seeking to buy a bag of chips. However, this is not the only change that is reducing the extensive lunch lines.

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“The other thing…I think is helpful is really making a big push for students to pre-load money onto their accounts so that you don’t have to have the money issue that slows down the line. You just type in your student number and off you go,” Satterwhite said.

The shortened lines have been proven to move much faster and more efficiently, greatly improving the cafeteria lunch experience.

Another focus is on providing more entree options that are healthy and tasty, along with making the overall meal healthier as a whole. Students agree that it is effective.

“I like it because it promotes good health and encourages students to eat a lot healthier,” sophomore Devika Kumar said.

There are five available components to a meal: an entree, a drink, a bag of chips, a fruit and a vegetable. Students are required to purchase at least three of the five components. Because of this, meals will not only be delicious but healthy as well, which is a tremendous improvement.

“I think the kids are getting the full lunch versus buying off-cart, and with the full lunch, you’re getting more for your money,” Nutrition Services Coordinator Debra Godfrey said. “We don’t have cup noodles [and] hot Cheetos have changed… We’ve come up with more options, so they’re getting more choices for their hot lunch.”

However, there are some issues with this plan. Students take the fruit that is offered but decline to eat it, instead opting to toss it out. Since they do not want to eat the fruit but feel obligated to take it, the fruit or vegetable or even both often end up in a trash can.

“Personally, I think that the efforts are going a bit to waste,” sophomore Anastasia Arsky said. “People are required to take fruits or veggies, but aren’t actually eating them. I’ve seen them thrown away, which is really wasteful.”

One key piece of information is causing a great deal of misunderstanding—the fruit or vegetable component is not actually required. The district only requires that the cafeteria at least offers the healthy items. Students are only required to buy at least three of the five offered components of a meal, and a fruit or vegetable does not have to be one of them.

In the end, the choice to allow this policy to be effective resides in the students. Without understanding and compliance from the students, the policy will simply contribute to the school’s waste.

Students do not have to take a fruit or vegetable, resolving the single issue that resided within the policy. Eating healthy is not a choice that can be forced upon you, but understanding the policy will definitely help reduce the school’s waste.

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