Let’s eat, changes for healthy lunches

New health act affects food sold during school hours

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The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was placed into effect over the summer on July 1, 2014 to provide healthier lunches for students in school. The act impacts the food served before, during and after school.
Beginning this school year, Utica Community Schools is following new nutrition requirements for the food that is sold in school. Changes are not only limited to the lunchroom; anything sold during school hours must meet guidelines, including teachers or clubs that sell food to fundraise.Students are still allowed to bring snacks to school that may not follow these rules, but will not be able to buy anything that doesn’t meet nutritional standards.

“I think it’s a good thing because it teaches kids to eat healthier,” junior Dana Abfel said. “It’ll teach better eating habits and ways to be healthier.”
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was put into place to improve nutrition for students, who can say goodbye to salty chips, greasy pizza, and sugary drinks. What used to be high in fat and calories is now whole grain and reduced sugar. Students now find increased servings of fresh vegetables and fruits in their lunches.
“The food tastes even worse, senior Johnathon Kulczynski said. “I think they should put more gym classes instead of healthy food.”
While some may not like this change, others believe that it can lead to a healthier lifestyle. For example, companies make their processed foods with ingredients that will make people want to buy and eat more of their products.
“The saltier it is,” food and nutrition teacher Ritu Allarwall said, “the more you will want to eat it.”
Many students are upset with the new food changes. They don’t like the taste of the new food and believe that they should be able to decide what they eat.
“I don’t like it,” junior Saxton Baumann said. “If I want to eat carbs, I should be able to eat carbs. I support healthy food, but the food they enforced is gross.”
A few even said that some of the healthier food isn’t as good as the district may think it is, like diet pop. Some studies done by Authority Nutrition have found that diet drinks can increase someone’s chance of getting diabetes or other serious diseases.
Although many predicted that the changes would result in a decrease of lunchroom sales, those that prepare Utica’s lunches say that sales have actually increased.
“Everything is allergy and gluten free,” cafeteria worker Susan Komlosan said. “We’ve had more fresh stuff then we’ve ever had before. Everything has changed for the better.”
The act was created to help students think about what they are eating. While those who buy a lunch are forced to follow the changes, those who bring food will not be affected.
“I don’t buy school lunches because it saves money,” junior Katelyn Tremper said, “and I can choose what I want to eat.”
Although the changes won’t affect everyone, administrators hope they will have a positive, long-term effect.
“I think we have a soaring obesity rate and something had to be done,” principal Thomas Leitz said. “We’re now being forced to reflect on what we’re eating, but it’s going to take some time.”