Sep 15, 2015 2:47 PM
LONDONDERRY – Londonderry High School students and the school’s lunchroom have had differing ideas of a healthy, nutritious lunch.
As a public school, Londonderry is required to follow the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 but when it came to lunch, the USDA regulations did not seem to taste too good.
Londonderry needed to follow these regulations:
-Age-appropriate calorie limits
-Larger servings of vegetables and fruits (students must take at least one serving of produce)
-A wider variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes
-Fat-free or 1% milk (flavored milk must be fat-free)
-More whole grains
It is no wonder students said some of these restrictions limited what could end up on their lunch trays, let alone in their stomachs.
“A lot of people threw out the veggies and sometimes the main meal,” said sophomore Erika Tillis.
“We just had very healthy trash cans,” said Amanda Venezia, Director of Dining Service.
“Having to go back to class and having to still be hungry and still want to have more food and can’t really have more unless you buy it? For people who don’t have a lot of money it’s going to be difficult for them,” said senior Mark Couture.
In order to cater more to their students and their taste buds – Londonderry has become one of the first school in the state to opt out of the national school lunch program.
“Years before people complained about it but they never really did anything until this year,” said Couture.
The plan now is to find out what the students want.
There will be no more government assistance but free and discounted lunches will still be given to those who qualify. The hope is sales from the new program will pay for new menu costs.
The changes are welcome news for students who spend hours in the building for sports and other after school programs.
“I’m 5’10-5’11, a hundred and seventy something pounds. I do need a little bit of food I would say,” said freshman Ty Belville, who plays sports year round.
“If I don’t eat right or healthy I won’t get the nutrients I need to practice three hours a day,” said Belville.
“These are intelligent consumers even though they are just students and children. They know what they want- they know more importantly what they don’t want,” said Venezia.
The Dining staff are open to suggestions the school is attempting ‘Try it Tuesdays’ where students weigh in on new options the school wants to serve up.
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